Kieran Brookes seals Northampton Saints switch
England international tighthead prop to join Aviva Premiership champions from Newcastle Falcons in the summer
Newcastle Falcons prop Kieran Brookes will join Aviva Premiership champions Northampton Saints in the summer.
The 24-year-old tighthead had been looking for a move away from Kingston Park and turned down a new deal to join the Midlands club.
Their record over the last few seasons speaks for itself and I’m under no illusions of the quality of squad I’m going in to and the challenge that presents.
Brookes, who has six England caps to his name, made his debut during last summer’s 3-0 Test series defeat in New Zealand and featured in all four of England’s QBE Internationals in November, and is the second player to be confirmed by the Saints for next season after the signing of versatile Munster back JJ Hanrahan was announced last week.
“I’m looking forward to joining Northampton Saints next season,” Brookes said.
“Their record over the last few seasons speaks for itself and I’m under no illusions of the quality of squad I’m going in to and the challenge that presents.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the Falcons and in particular working with John Wells and Micky Ward, both of whom have helped me massively, and in the meantime all my efforts will be concentrated on helping us finish as high up the league as we can.”
Brookes made his professional debut in his first two-year spell at the Falcons in 2009, returning to the North East club on loan in March 2013 after a difficult two-year period at Leicester Tigers, where his opportunities were limited to just 10 appearances.
Attempts were made to retain Kieran over a 10-month period, but during the course of the negotiations it became clear that he and his agent were looking to move.
After helping the Falcons secure promotion back to the Premiership in 2013, the Staffordshire-born forward signed a two-year deal with the club.
While his personal performances have seen him rise from the Ireland then England age-grade teams to the 2011 Churchill Cup-winning England Saxons team, and then to Stuart Lancaster’s England squad in 2014, the Falcons have failed to challenge for the top six since their Premiership return.
With former Australia tighthead prop Salesi Ma’afu reportedly set to leave Franklin’s Gardens to join Toulon in the summer, Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes Brookes can add a lot to his side as he challenges Tom Mercey for a starting role in the Saints front row.
“Kieran has steadily risen through the various England representative teams and has shown his quality at each level, building up experience along the way,” Mallinder said.
“However while we believe that he can contribute a great deal to our squad we also think that Kieran has a lot more to come, and we are looking forward to seeing him develop as a player at Franklin’s Gardens.”
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards admitted the club’s disappointment that Brookes would leave Tyneside at the end of the season after their efforts to keep the player at Kingston Park.
“We’re obviously disappointed to see Kieran head to Northampton,” Richards said.
“We would have liked him to stay here, at the club that has helped him to develop into the full England international that he is today.
“Attempts were made to retain Kieran over a 10-month period, but during the course of the negotiations it became clear that he and his agent were looking to move.”