Mapletoft will play at Saracens next season. Every bit as importantly from his point of view, he will play at outside-half.
Philippe Saint-Andre, the Gloucester coach, saw Mapletoft as a full- back, but the player saw things very differently. "Gloucester made it clear at the end of last season that they wanted me to switch, but I felt my best position was stand-off," said the 27-year-old goal-kicker yesterday. "As a result, they told me it would be better for both myself and the club if I moved on. Saracens have given me the chance to carry on with my career and with so many world-class players at Vicarage Road, many of whom I know through the England set-up, it's an exciting opportunity."
Mapletoft has no guarantee of first-team rugby at Saracens - Thierry Lacroix, the former French international outside-half, has just moved in from Harlequins - but, by the same yardstick, he was not certain of top-flight activity at Kingsholm. Saint-Andre has made it clear that Simon Mannix is his preferred stand-off and he also has Chris Catling, the England A full-back, on his staff.
Saracens declared three further signings of lower profile yesterday. Nick Walshe, an ex-Harlequin like Lacroix, will understudy Kyran Bracken at scrum-half, while the front row ranks have been reinforced by Robbie Russell, an Australian-born Scottish hooker, and Julian White, a 26-year- old Welsh prop with New Zealand provincial experience.
Pontypridd have lost their fight to retain the services of Dafydd James. The Welsh international wing rejected overtures from Cardiff, Swansea and a posse of English Premiership clubs in favour of a two-year deal with Llanelli.Reuse content