Throughout his career Paterson has been recognised as an outstanding forward. During his time with the Crusaders and Hurricanes in his native New Zealand he was considered by many to be a contender for All Blacks selection, not least after starring for the country’s Under-21 team.
Paterson is also qualified to play for England thanks to his grandfather, and the 29-year-old represented the national squad in the summer of 2014, firstly against the Barbarians at Twickenham and then on the subsequent tour to New Zealand.
This call-up came at the end of an impressive first season in the Aviva Premiership at Sale Sharks, where he has played 38 times in all competitions.
Paterson earned the Newcomer of the Year award at Sale last season, which followed the Supporters’ Player and Players’ Player of the Year gongs he won in his three years at Cardiff Blues, and director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that he believes the forward can continue this record of form in black, green and gold.
“Michael has proven himself to be a quality player wherever he has been,” he said. “He has earned recognition from national selectors, supporters and players alike for the consistently high levels of performance and commitment in the jersey.
“He is an excellent signing for us and will add to our options in the pack, which is an important area of the team.”
Paterson is looking forward to the challenge awaiting him at Franklin’s Gardens.
“I'm very excited to be joining Northampton Saints this summer,” he said. “It is a club that has achieved a lot of success over the last few years. After meeting with the coaches and management, it was clear to see the ambition and professional standards of the club. I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead, and continuing the development of my rugby in such a highly competitive team.
“I have very much enjoyed my time with Sale and will leave knowing that I gave my all every time I pulled on the jersey. I'm grateful for the opportunity Steve Diamond has given me, and I thank all the players, management and fans for their continued support.
“In the meantime, my priorities still remain with Sale, getting back on the pitch and playing my part in the lead up to the playoffs.”