- Northampton confirm signing of Russia back Vasili Artemiev
- Artimiev will become first Russian to play in the Aviva Premiership
Photo: Getty Images
Northampton have confirmed that they have agreed a deal to sign Russia back Vasili Artemiev.
The 23-year-old, who can play either on the wing or at full back, will become the first Russian to play in the Aviva Premiership when he teams up with the Saints after the World Cup.
Artemiev, a former school-mate of Luke Fitzgerald at Blackrock College, impressed during last summer's Churchill Cup, scoring tries in all three of his appearances, including against England Saxons.
And Saints boss Jim Mallinder believes that Artemiev, a former member of the Leinster academy, can be a huge success.
"Vasili really caught the eye during the Churchill Cup last year when he scored three really good tries," he said.
"He has plenty of pace, awareness and raw talent. He is also eager to develop as a player and we're looking forward to him being a part of the squad at Franklin's Gardens."
Artemiev hoping to develop his game in England
Artemiev believes that the chance to play for Northampton will help develop his game, saying: "I've heard a lot about the club and followed their recent good form.
"Everyone who I've spoken to has given me good feedback about the facilities and coaches, who are among the best in England at the moment.
"I'm looking forward to coming and learning from them and playing with some good players. The Saints is also one of the best clubs in Europe at the moment and I hope that I can contribute to some success over the next few years.
"I certainly feel that there are some world class players, especially in the positions where I play, and I'm sure I'll be able to pick up some things that can help me develop as a player and show what I can do in the Premiership.
"When I was at the Leinster academy I played some English clubs, and playing against the Saxons gave me a feel of the intensity and physicality that's needed to succeed in England. Having the opportunity to play at that level will put me in a good place for my career to develop."