SARACENS have swooped to complete their second big-name signing of the week by recruiting England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth from Sale Sharks.
The arrival of Wigglesworth, 26, on a three-year contract follows Monday’s announcement that the Premiership pace-setters will sign England prop Matt Stevens when his drugs ban expires in January 2011.
It is further evidence of Saracens’ growing stature under director of rugby Brendan Venter, who has helped transform the club from top-flight strugglers to high-fliers.
Stevens this week cited “something special happening at Saracens” as his reason for choosing them over Wasps and former team Bath – a phrase that Wigglesworth echoed word-for-word when he explained why he was leaving his native north-west.
“I have had nine great years at Sale, but I feel the time is right for a change,” he said. “Everyone can see there is something special happening at Saracens, on and off the field, and I want to be part of it.”
Wigglesworth, who won the last of his five England caps in the 2008 Six Nations Championship, will be reunited with international captain Steve Borthwick at Vicarage Road.
Venter said: “Richard is a top-quality international in the prime of his career, and his eagerness to join Saracens is further evidence this club is going places. He and his wife Lindsay have made a big decision to move south, and we look forward to welcoming them both into the Saracens family.”
Academy graduate Wigglesworth has had to vie with Welshman Dwayne Peel for the Sale No9 shirt. But he will also face stiff competition at Saracens, who already have three international scrum-halves: South Africa’s Neil de Kock, All Black Justin Marshall and Fijian Moses Rauluni.