Northampton sign Russian back Vasili Artemiev

Northampton have announced the signing of highly-rated Russian back Vasili Artemiev.

The 23-year-old, who can play wing or full-back, starred in the Churchill Cup last summer, scoring tries in all three of Russia's games. including one against England Saxons.



Artemiev will join Northampton from Moscow club VVA-Podmoskovie, and he is set to be a key part of Russia's World Cup campaign in New Zealand later this year.



He will link up with Saints once his World Cup commitments are over.



Artemiev said: "I hope to help some of the younger players in the Russian national team make their way to Europe.



"They are very keen and are capable of playing at that level, but they've never had the exposure or opportunity. Maybe my playing in England will help their careers as well."



And Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder added: "Vasili really caught the eye during the Churchill Cup last year when he scored three really good tries.



"He has plenty of pace, awareness and raw talent. He is also eager to develop as a player, and we're looking forward to him being a part of the squad at Franklin's Gardens."

Elsewhere, Sale Sharks have swooped to sign Samoa international Tasesa Lavea from reigning French champions Clermont Auvergne.



New Zealand-born Lavea, a goalkicking fly-half who can also play in the centre, has agreed a two-year deal at Edgeley Park.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have completed the signing of scrum-half prospect Jordi Pasqualin from their Aviva Premiership rivals Gloucester. Pasqualin, a current England Under-20 international, will move to Kingston Park for the start of next season.

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