England star Courtney Lawes is expected to snub interest from France’s latest cash-rich club and commit his long-term future to Northampton Saints.
Back-five forward Lawes has agreed a new deal that will keep him at Franklin’s Gardens until after the 2023 World Cup, the PA news agency understands.
French ProD2 outfit Beziers are on the brink of a takeover from billionaire Arab investors, and a whole host of names are already being targeted for transfers.
Gallagher Premiership clubs have been battling to agree new contracts with top players in light of both the league-wide agreed salary cap reductions and the impact of coronavirus.
Big-hitting Lawes would have effectively ended his 85-cap England career by heading overseas, with the national side still only selecting home-based players.
But the 31-year-old has opted to remain at his sole professional club, in a sizeable boost to the Saints.
Northampton meanwhile have confirmed that flanker Jamie Gibson will leave the east Midlands club when his contract expires on June 30.
The 29-year-old admitted the coronavirus fallout had impacted his decision.
“Prior to the pandemic the club and I had spoken about the future, but circumstances have understandably led to certain opportunities no longer being available, which is sad,” said Gibson.
“However I’m currently exploring a number of new opportunities, both inside and outside of rugby, and my family are very excited about what the future holds for us.
“If I do not get the chance to run out at Franklin’s Gardens again, then I’d like to thank my team-mates, coaches and the supporters here at Saints for everything they have done for me the last few years.
“Playing at the Gardens was always a brilliant experience and I look forward to hopefully returning in the future.”