England second-row David Ribbans will depart Northampton at the end of the campaign as he is set to take up a playing opportunity in France.
Ribbans, 27, has run out for the Saints 115 times to date and has scored 17 tries since he arrived at the club from Western Province back in January 2017.
His form at Northampton helped the side to the Premiership semi-finals on two occasions while he was also rewarded with an England cap last November.
Proud of Ribbans’ progress
“As a coaching group, we are very proud of the progress Dave has made during his time at Saints,” director of rugby Phil Dowson told the Saints’ website.
“He arrived in Northampton as a 21-year-old without many Super Rugby appearances to his name. He will leave as a fully-fledged England international and a proven performer in the Gallagher Premiership, one of the most attritional and competitive leagues in the world.
“You always want to create an environment for players where they can work hard, thrive, win matches and be successful on the international stage. Sometimes, that means players become attractive propositions for other clubs.
“Dave leaves to pursue a playing opportunity in France next season. It’s disappointing to lose a player of his calibre, and we were surprised Dave wanted to leave the club at this time.
“But he is of course a professional, and will be putting all his efforts in his final months in Northampton to ensure the team is as successful as possible. We will wish him well after that.”
Ribbans is currently with the England squad preparing for their Six Nations clash with Italy on Sunday and gave a heartfelt message to the club’s supporters.
Loved his time at Saints
“I love playing for Saints and living in Northamptonshire, so this was not an easy decision for me to make,” said the lock, whose next club is to be confirmed.
“I’m extremely grateful to the club’s supporters for embracing me as they have in my time here, and to the coaches and support staff for everything they have done to improve me as a player.
“I’ll be sad to leave some great friends and teammates, but I’ll be giving everything I’ve got to make sure we finish the season as strongly as possible.”
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