Saracens and Saints settle Tonga'uiha dispute

Northampton and Saracens, the two clubs involved in an amusingly fractious spat over the services of the Pacific Islands prop Soane Tonga'uiha, yesterday reached an "amicable" agreement that allows the player to remain with the Midlanders next season – and, indeed, for the two seasons after that. Given that Tonga'uiha had pledged himself to Saracens, and that the Watford-based club subsequently accused their rivals of showing "complete contempt for justice and integrity", it may not have been as amicable as all that. We will find out when the two clubs meet at Franklin's Gardens a week tomorrow.

Tonga'uiha, said to be concerned that a continued association with Northampton might threaten his chances of playing for Tonga at next year's World Cup in New Zealand, announced his decision to join Saracens earlier this year – a move trumpeted as enthusiastically by player as it was by the club. Then, he changed his mind and signed a three-year extension to his existing deal.

"We must decide whether we operate a league where signed agreements mean something and are respected, or whether we have chaos," said the Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths at the time, adding that he confidently expected to see Tonga'uiha for pre-season training in July. After a meeting with Premier Rugby officials last week and further discussions over the last couple of days, those expectations are strictly past tense.

It was always likely to turn out this way: ultimately, there is not much value to be had from a player if he would rather be playing his rugby elsewhere. Under yesterday's agreement, neither club will comment further on the issue. If Northampton paid Saracens compensation, no one was saying so.

By way of rubbing salt in the wounds of Griffiths and company, the Midlanders named Tonga'uiha as their player of the month. They also confirmed the signing of the powerfully constructed Leeds wing Scott Armstrong, who will move south at the end of the current campaign. Always assuming, of course, that he doesn't change his mind.

Wasps, meanwhile, are looking for a new chief executive after the departure of Paul Harrison, who joined the boards of Wasps and Wycombe Wanderers who share the Adams Park stadium in High Wycombe, only five months ago.

In Wales, the Lions hooker Matthew Rees will miss Scarlets' Magners League meeting with Cardiff Blues tomorrow night after failing to recover from a neck injury. The Llanelli-based side are at serious risk of missing the cut for next season's Heineken Cup.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor