Mallinder poaches Lobbe

Former Sale chief returns to sign Argentinean ace

Last Updated: 01/04/08 9:51am

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Lobbe: Joining Saints

Lobbe: Joining Saints

Sky Bet

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has returned to his former club Sale to sign Argentinean forward Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe.

Mallinder has already convinced Ben Foden and Chris Mayor to swap Edgeley Park for Franklin's Gardens, as well as conditioning coach Nick Johnston, as he prepares to build a strong squad for next season's return to the Premiership.

And now 64 times capped Argentinean Lobbe has opted to join the Saints revolution.

"I've spoken with Jim and the coaches and I am really happy to move to Northampton," Lobbe told the club's official site.

"It's a club with a lot of history in the Premiership and some great fans who go everywhere. When I was playing in France I went to see a quarter-final between Toulouse and Northampton and there were thousands of fans who were really loud.

Focused

"I've had an excellent four years at Sale, winning the Challenge Cup and the Premiership. But from July I will be totally focused on my new challenge at Northampton. I really hope that we can have an excellent start to the new season and that I can help them get to being a top club in England."

Mallinder, who has made seven key signings already ahead of next season, admits Lobbe's experience will be vital.

"Ignacio is a player who has plenty of power, skill and leadership experience," Mallinder said.

"He has played at the highest level for many years and knows how to win the biggest matches. This will be invaluable in the Premiership next season.

"We have some good young locks here at Franklins Gardens, the likes of Alex Rae, Phil Hoy and James Cannon. But they have a lot to learn and playing alongside a player like Ignacio will help their development immensely."

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