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Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Thursday, 12 May 2011 10:32 UK

Northampton Saints sign James Craig and Cesar Sempere

Craig Sempere
Craig (left) and Sempere will join the Saints this summer.

Northampton Saints have signed Leeds Carnegie lock James Craig and Spanish international utility back Cesar Sempere for next season.

Craig, 22, has represented England through the age-groups and scored for Leeds against the Saints in the LV= Cup at Franklin's Gardens back in February.

"I'm massively looking forward to coming down to the Saints," said Craig.

"The guys I know here have told me it's a great place to be, and visiting the club you can feel the buzz," he added.

Sempere, 27, is able to play at fly-half, full-back or on the wing, and has scored 22 tries on his 34 international appearances for Spain.

He has spent this season playing for Nottingham in the Championship.

"For me the Saints is one of the best teams in the Premiership and it's a great opportunity for me to show what I can do," Sempere explained.

"I like to play with the ball in hand from everywhere, which is why I'm looking forward to playing in a team like Northampton."

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder - honoured at the Premiership Rugby awards earlier this week after guiding Saints to the Heineken Cup final and Premiership play-offs - wants to bolster his squad ahead of the 2011-12 season.

He said: "Our campaigns in the Premiership and in Europe have shown us the value of having a strong all-round squad. And with the World Cup coinciding with the start of next season we need players who can help us compete.

"James and Cesar have shown their quality in the games they've played against us in the last year, and we were impressed by what they can bring - not just in terms of playing ability but in their desire to succeed in a Saints shirt," Mallinder added.

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see also
Wood named top Premiership player
11 May 11 |  English
Craig ready for Premiership debut
10 Feb 11 |  Leeds
Johnston extends Nottingham deal
22 Jun 10 |  English

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