Rugby Union: Sleightholme move bolsters Northampton back division

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Jon Sleightholme, out of favour with both Bath and England, yesterday agreed a three-year deal with Northampton for an undisclosed sum. The right wing's move to Franklins Gardens means the Saints can field international threequarters from three of the four home nations.

Sleightholme was placed on the transfer list by Bath almost a month ago after the club bluntly informed him that he was not considered a part of their long-term plans. Yet Bath were well aware of his potential market value and put a six- figure price tag on his head.

Cardiff, the biggest spending of the Welsh clubs, expressed an immediate interest but told Bath they were asking "silly money" for the 25-year- old former teacher. Northampton, who have just made a substantial investment in the services of Gary Pagel, the South African prop, were not so hesitant, although they refused yesterday to discuss the details of Sleightholme's move.