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Northampton capture France number eight Louis Picamoles for 2016 season

Northampton have completed a major coup by signing France number eight Louis Picamoles on a three-year contract.

Picamoles will arrive at Franklin's Gardens next summer, bringing down the curtain on a seven-season spell with Top 14 giants Toulouse.

The 29-year-old is one of the few players to emerge with any credit from France's dismal World Cup and is known for his ball-carrying, athleticism and off-loads.

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder welcomed the capture of a respected 51-cap international who is in his prime.

"Louis is a world-class player and a proven performer at the highest level of club and international rugby," Mallinder said.

"He was France's standout performer at the World Cup and we're excited by the prospect of him linking up with the quality players we have here already.

"He's still young and we believe that his best years are still to come. When we met it was clear that he has the drive and ambition to improve and be successful, and we're delighted that he will be doing that here with us at Franklin's Gardens."

Picamoles is the second high-profile recruit recently secured by Northampton with South Africa's veteran lock Victor Matfield starting a one-year deal now the World Cup is over.

Picamoles said: "It is going to be an honour to become part of a club as prestigious as the Saints.

"I'm really looking forward to learn more about the club, my future team-mates, to play in the Aviva Premiership and to immerse myself in the English culture, especially my first big derby against Leicester!"

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