Northampton sign forward duo to tackle injury crisis

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The Independent Online

Troubled Northampton yesterday signed two players as emergency cover to help them out of an injury crisis.

Troubled Northampton yesterday signed two players as emergency cover to help them out of an injury crisis.

Bottom-of-the-table Saints, who are still investigating a "fracas" which took place in a Toulouse bar in the early hours of Sunday morning following their European Cup defeat against the French club, have been ravaged by injuries: they have seven forwards out of action. So yesterday they signed the loose forward Ross Beattie and the prop Simon Emms, who both go straight into the Saints' match-day squad for the Powergen Cup sixth-round tie against Bedford on Saturday.

John Steele, Northampton's director of operations, said: "With most of our pack out of action with injury, these players have got an opportunity to step in and make a case for a longer-term contract next year.

Emms has played for Llanelli and Bath, while Beattie, the former Bristol captain, who has won nine Scotland caps, arrives at Franklin's Gardens from Celtic League side the Newport-Gwent Dragons.

Both players arrive at a club in the mire. Although the Saints still have a chance of reaching the European Cup quarter-finals, they are rooted to the bottom of the Premiership.

But Emms said: "It's a big club in the Zurich Premiership, so this is a fantastic opportunity for me. I'm really glad to be here."

Someone else in the right place is the former Springbok coach, Nick Mallett, who has been approached to take over as director of rugby at Western Province. Mallett, who won back-to-back French titles with Stade Français before returning to South Africa this year, took the Springboks to 17 successive Test victories and the 1998 Tri-Nations title before he was summarily dismissed by S A Rugby.

Mallett said: "When I came back to South Africa I was keen to stay out of rugby for a year or two having been involved for nine years without a break. [But] this position would not take me far away from my family. It's a hell of a good opportunity and in the area that I live and love. It combines family with rugby. I think the director of rugby position is a very exciting development from a WP point of view."

The Clermont Auvergne prop David Attoub will appear before an European Rugby Cup disciplinary committee in London tomorrow night to answer a citing complaint lodged by Borders following the European Challenge Cup second round, first leg match on 5 December.

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