England prop Brookes joins Saints

England tighthead Kieran Brookes, England v New Zealand, Autumn Internationals, Twickenham Stadium, London, November 8, 2014 Getty Images

Northampton Saints have announced the signing of England tighthead Kieran Brookes from Newcastle Falcons.

Brookes has six caps for England since making his debut off the bench against New Zealand in Dunedin in June last year and appeared in all four of England's November Tests in 2014.

He made his Premiership debut for Newcastle in 2009 before moving to Leicester for two seasons in 2011. Since returning to the north-east in 2013, his stock has risen rapidly and he is now regarded as one of the top scrummagers in England.

"Kieran has steadily risen through the various England representative teams and has shown his quality at each level, building up experience along the way," said Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"However while we believe that he can contribute a great deal to our squad we also think that Kieran has a lot more to come, and we are looking forward to seeing him develop as a player at Franklin's Gardens."

Brookes, who will join up with fellow England front-rowers Alex Corbisiero and Dylan Hartley at Saints, is looking forward to moving to Franklin's Gardens.

"I'm looking forward to joining Northampton Saints next season," he commented. "Their record over the last few seasons speaks for itself and I'm under no illusions of the quality of squad I'm going in to and the challenge that presents.

"I've really enjoyed my time at the Falcons and in particular working with John Wells and Micky Ward, both of whom have helped me massively, and in the meantime all my efforts will be concentrated on helping us finish as high up the league as we can."

Saints' incumbent tight-head Salesi Ma'afu will join Toulon at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards has expressed his disappointment over Brookes' Kingston Park exit.

"We are obviously disappointed to see Kieran head to Northampton," said Richards. "We would have liked him to stay here, at the club that has helped him to develop into the full England international that he is today.

"Attempts were made to retain Kieran over a 10-month period, but during the course of the negotiations it became clear that he and his agent were looking to move."