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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December, 2003, 16:15 GMT
Sleightholme calls it a day
Jon Sleightholme
Sleightholme made 13 England appearances
Northampton winger Jon Sleightholme is to retire from rugby on 31 December.

The former England, Bath and Wakefield player joined the club in 1997. The 31-year-old made 85 appearances for the club, scoring 22 tries.

Meanwhile, Saints have signed former Tonga captain Tevita Taumoepeau as a direct replacement for injured prop Renaud Peillard.

Weighing in at nearly 18st, he has played 19 times for his country but was not selected for the World Cup.

Sleightholme, capped 13 times for England, has also been working as Northampton's sponsorship manager and is joining a Newcastle-based company to further his career.

He said: "This was a difficult decision to make, particularly during the middle of the season.

"However, I have a reached a time in my career when I could not afford to turn down an opportunity like this one.

"I have had a wonderful career spanning 13 seasons and I will take away lifelong memories and friends from Wakefield, Bath and, primarily, Saints.

"The support I have had from the players, management and fans during the last six years at Saints has been second to none, which made the decision to retire even harder."

Sleightholme intends to keep his family in Northampton, and will remain registered with Saints so the club could call on him in an emergency.

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