Northampton Saints sign up England prop

Northampton Saints have announced that prop Paul Doran-Jones will join the club ahead of the 2011/12 season.


Twenty-five-year-old Doran-Jones has played the last two season for Gloucester and is part of the England Elite squad.


Comfortable on either side of the scrum, Doran-Jones was capped by England in the 2009 Autumn Internationals and is in the England Elite Playing Squad currently preparing for the Six Nations.


A member of England’s touring party last summer, Doran-Jones has also played non-cap games against the Barbarians, Australia ‘A’ and the New Zealand Maori.


Educated at Wellington College, Doran-Jones joined Gloucester from London Welsh, with his previous clubs also including Lansdowne RFC, for whom he played while studying at University College, Dublin, and Leinster, where he spent four seasons between 2003 and 2007.


Doran-Jones’s representative career includes caps for England Under-18 and Ireland Under-19 and Under-21, and in addition to his Aviva Premiership Rugby experience in the Cherry and White he has played in the Heineken Cup and in all of Gloucester’s Amlin Challenge Cup pool matches this season.


He is excited by the prospect of joining the Saints.


“I played against the Saints in my first game for London Welsh and it’s always been tough playing against them,” he said. “They’ve got a history of having a strong pack and it will be great to be a part of the squad at Franklin’s Gardens.


“I’m looking forward to getting in and training with the boys. I’ve been with a few of them with England and the banter’s starting already. The likes of Dylan and Courtney and the other guys like Tonga’uiha and Mujati have done really well this season and I want to be a part of that.


“Gloucester has been a great club for me. It’s tough to leave the place where I had my chance. The clubs are similar with great followings and histories and Kingsholm will always be a special place for me.


“But I’m looking forward to the challenge of moving to Franklin’s Gardens and challenging for my place at the Saints. They are showing where they can be in the current Heineken Cup and I want to be competing at that level week in, week out in the future and improve myself as a player.”


Director of rugby Jim Mallinder said that Doran-Jones will be a good addition to the Saints squad.


“Paul is a quality prop who has the added benefit of playing on either side of the scrum,” he said.


“As we prepare for a tough Aviva Premiership and European campaign we need players who are flexible enough to play in a variety of positions, and to have props like Paul, Tom Mercey and Brian Mujati who can play at tight and loose-head will only be good for the Saints squad.


“Having quality players in these positions will mean that competition will remain fierce and will also continue to push our standards higher and higher, which we need if we want to stay competing at the top end of the Premiership and in the later stages of Europe.”

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