Ospreys concede Kahn defeat
ANDREW Hore has admitted a lack of spending power cost the Ospreys the services of Kahn Fotuali'i to Northampton Saints.
The 30-year-old Samoan will head for Franklin's Gardens this summer after signing on the dotted line for the East Midlanders and ending a two-year association with the Ospreys.
The news is exactly what the region didn't want to hear.
They had been hoping to retain Fotuali'i despite the islander being the target for some of the wealthiest clubs in England and France.
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But they couldn't match Northampton's financial muscle, with the Aviva Premiership club reportedly clinching the deal on the strength of a contract reportedly worth £250,000 a year.
It is a shattering blow for the Ospreys because Fotuali'i is at the peak of his powers, playing so well he has been described as the best scrum-half in the world.
Hore, the region's chief operations officer, said: "We are obviously disappointed to lose a player of Kahn's quality.
"We made what we consider a very competitive offer to the player to retain his services, but, unfortunately, he has advised us that his future lies elsewhere.
"When Kahn signed for us it was pretty much under the radar and he has thrived in our environment, playing the best rugby of his career this season which has led to the intense interest in his services.
"Kahn was happy to stay here, but we were unable to match the salary available elsewhere, and we totally understand that it is only a short career and he needs to put his and his family's future first."
The Ospreys will now start looking for a replacement.
They have Rhys Webb and Tom Habberfield on their books, but they need three scrum-halves and plan to scour the market in an attempt to unearth a fresh gem.
"Although this is disappointing news, the early decision from Kahn allows us to move forward positively as a business with an eye on next season and possible player recruitment," added Hore.
"We will continue to look for under-the-radar-signings who will offer value for money while contributing immensely to our environment, just as Kahn has.
"We are sure that Kahn will continue to serve us well between now and the end of the season as we look to retain our RaboDirect Pro12 title."
Northampton coach Jim Mallinder said: "Kahn is a player who has attracted a lot of positive headlines and attention throughout his career.
"He has a superb set of skills and is a powerful and dynamic runner who will add to our options in one of the team's crucial positions.
"We're delighted that he has chosen to sign a long-term contract to play his rugby at Franklin's Gardens, and we're looking forward to welcoming him to the club in the summer."