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Saints re-sign England lock Alex Coles

England international Alex Coles has penned a new contract to remain at Northampton Saints, the Club can today confirm.

The 24-year-old, who can play at lock or in the back row, brought up a century of senior appearances in Black, Green and Gold against Sale Sharks on Saturday, having initially joined Northampton’s Academy set-up aged 13 and progressed through the ranks into the first team.

Coles has scored ten tries so far for Saints, with three of those coming in 12 appearances this season. He also claimed the Club’s Breakthrough Player of the Season award in 2021/22 after making 29 appearances in a single campaign, and captained Northampton on two occasions.

His stellar performances continued at the start of the 2022/23 season, and Coles was rewarded in the form of a senior England call-up and three Test caps for the Red Rose during the 2022 Autumn Nations Series – having already represented his country at Under-16, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 age group levels.

“We’re thrilled to keep Alex here in Northampton, as he’s grown into an incredibly important player for us,” said Saints’ Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson. “He’s a big character within the group, leading our lineout on this pitch as well as being head of the squad’s social committee off it.

“He’s also come through our Academy system here at Saints – and we’re desperate to keep that core group, who have been playing their rugby in Black, Green and Gold since they were teenagers, together.”

Phil Dowson, Director of Rugby

“Alex leads in a different way to some of the other guys in the squad, but he’s just as important in terms of the impact he has on the group.

“He can cover two positions, has worked hard to become a first-class lineout caller, and is now an England international as well. It’s his natural intelligence, his desire to get better, and his ability to influence those around him that is so important for us.

“To have played 100 senior games at 24 years old in such an attritional position, and to have been recognised on the international stage too, is very impressive – but we are sure there is still a lot more to come from him.”

Coles joins the likes of Sam Graham, Robbie Smith, and Fraser Dingwall to have already re-signed for Saints for next season, and the 24-year-old is already looking forward to the journey ahead as he bids to win silverware with Saints and more international caps with England.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be staying on with Saints. This is my boyhood Club, they spotted me out of school, have brought me through the system here since I was 14 years old, and have invested so much time and effort into making me the player that I am.

“I love playing here; it’s a proper rugby town, a Club full of tradition and history, and I feel like all the people around Northampton are so invested in us as a team – that was a big part of my decision.”

Alex Coles

“On the pitch, it feels like we have something special brewing and I wanted to make sure I am involved in that. There’s a big group of guys that I’ve grown up playing alongside, and now I really want to be part of a group that delivers success for Northampton by winning some trophies.

“Over the last couple of years, I definitely feel like my role within the team has grown. I started out as a listener and a helper, but now I have a more senior role in leading the lineout, and with 100 games under my belt I have the experience to be able to support the squad’s other leaders with a real maturity growing now amongst this group.

“Another big part of this decision is thinking about where I would be best placed to try to get back in the England side. To do that, you have to play well and improve. The coaching here is excellent, development is a core value at the Club, and that really manifests itself when you see how much many of the players improve here as a result of the support we receive from all the staff.

“So, I am excited about what is to come for me. I feel like there’s still a lot to get out of my game, and I’m working hard on that every single day.”

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