WORCESTER Warriors face a battle to keep hold of Dean Hammond with Northampton Saints eyeing up a replacement for George North.

Hammond is understood to have attracted interest from Saints after scoring six tries in his last eight appearances for Warriors.

The explosive back joined Worcester’s academy from South Africa's Western Province in September 2013 before establishing himself in the first team.

The 25-year-old has notched 25 tries in 58 outings for the Sixways side and scored a hat-trick in the 45-37 defeat at Harlequins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup earlier this month.

But Hammond’s contract is due to end next summer and Warriors are believed to be facing competition from Northampton for his signature.

Saints are understood to be in the market for a winger after it was announced last week North would be leaving Franklin’s Gardens at the end of this season.

North, who has won 69 caps for his country, will return to Wales on a national dual contract.

Warriors' director of rugby Gary Gold said he was unaware of any possible interest from Northampton.

But he insisted Hammond was among a number of players he had started talks with.

“I don’t know anything about Northampton so I can’t comment about that,” Gold said.

“It’s interesting as you aren’t supposed to be talking to players before the window.

“But the talks are going the same with Dean as they are with every player.

“We will have initial conversations and then we will wait and see what the options are.

“We will give our intentions as to what we want to do with Dean and then let the system take care of itself.

“Dean has obviously played very well to keep Perry Humphreys out of the team as he is a class player.”

Flanker Sam Lewis became the first player this season to commit his future to Warriors after penning a new deal last week.

But the Worcester News understands the contracts of almost half of the squad are due for renewal.

"I do believe by in large the players are a really happy bunch here,” Gold added.

“We have proven what we are able to do but we are not consistent enough at it and that’s our next work-on.

“We have to understand what the process looks like and that will all be made a lot easier if the core group of these players are able to stick together at this club for a number of years.”