Northampton have confirmed that USA forward Cam Dolan is joining the club, while Russian winger Vasily Artemyev is leaving England.
Northampton Saints have confirmed that American forward Cam Dolan is joining the club, while Russian Vasily Artemyev is exiting Franklin's Gardens.
Over the past 12 months 23-year-old Dolan has emerged as one of the top prospects within the American game. A number eight who, at 6ft 6in and 16st 5lbs, packs a physical punch, Dolan has rapidly built up a reputation as a player to watch.
Although he has six caps under his belt it was in a non-cap international where Dolan caught the eye, putting in a man of the match performance as the US Eagles ran the New Zealand Maori close in Philadelphia in early November.
This was backed up by wins over Georgia in Tbilisi and Russia in Barnet, a game in which Dolan joined Samu Manoa on the scoresheet.
A former captain of both the USA U20 and Selects teams, Dolan arrives at Franklin's Gardens from Life University RFC in Georgia, USA, as an injury dispensation replacement for James Craig, whose shoulder injury sustained against Gloucester on November 9 has ruled him out for a number of months.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder is looking forward to seeing how much Dolan can develop in a professional environment.
“We've kept a close eye on Cam for a while and have been impressed by what we've seen,” he said.
“He's a player who has a lot of natural talent and the physical attributes it takes to succeed, something he showed during the Autumn Internationals and against the Maori.
“Although the American league is developing all the time it is a big step up to the professional environment of the Aviva Premiership and we're not expecting Cam to be the finished article immediately.
“It has been sad to see James Craig ruled out for a while with his shoulder injury, but it has also given us the opportunity to bring Cam in and see how he develops over the next few months.”
Meanwhile Artemyev is returning to his native Russia. The winger has made 33 appearances for the Saints first team since arriving after the 2011 Rugby World Cup, scoring nine tries. And although his senior appearances have been restricted this season Artemyev has been an important part of the Wanderers' run to the Aviva 'A' League final.
But with both his upcoming marriage and a baby on the horizon, the 26-year-old Artemyev has expressed a desire to return to his homeland, with the club releasing him with immediate effect.
Mallinder thanked Artemyev for his contributions during his time in the East Midlands.
“We're sad to see Vasily leave, but totally understand his reasons why,” he said.
“He has worked extremely hard in his time with us and has learned a great deal. He is an intelligent young man who has never given less than 100 percent, and we wish him all the best for the future.
“Of course this leaves a bit of a hole in the squad, and we will be bringing in someone to fill that gap in the not-too-distant future.”
Artemyev said that the Saints will always have a special place in his memory.
“It has been a great honour for me to represent this magnificent club and play alongside the best players and under the coaching of Jim Mallinder,” he said.
“I am leaving this club a far better and more experienced player than I came.
“My biggest regret about leaving is not to be not being able to run out again in front of the most loving and supporting crowd at the Gardens that I have ever had a chance to play in front of.
“Unfortunately the time has come for me to play my rugby elsewhere, but I wish the club all the best in future and I hope we win some long deserved silverware this season.”