Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
Northampton saints badge.png
Full name Northampton Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s) Jimmies,[1] Saints
Founded 1880
Ground(s) Franklin's Gardens Capacity 13,591[2]
Chairman England Leon Barwell
Coach(es) England Jim Mallinder
Captain(s) England Dylan Hartley
Most caps England Ron Jacobs 470
Top scorer England Paul Grayson 1,278
Most tries England Teddy Cook 219
League(s) Aviva Premiership
2010–11 4th (lost playoff semi-final)
1st kit
2nd kit
Largest win
Saints 96 – 3 Sedgley Park
Largest defeat
London Wasps 54 – 12 Saints
Official website

Northampton Saints are a professional rugby union club from Northampton, England. The Northampton Saints were formed in 1880. They play in green, black and gold colours. They play their home games at Franklin's Gardens, which has a capacity of 13,591.

The club won their first major trophy when they defeated Munster in the 1999-2000 Heineken Cup final. Recent success has involved winning The 2008–09 European Challenge Cup, The 2009–10 LV Cup and consistently maintaining a playoff position in the Aviva Premiership. The Saints reached the final of the 2010–11 Heineken Cup.

Their biggest rivals are Leicester Tigers. "The East Midland Derby" is one of the fiercest rivalries in English Rugby Union.



Early years

The club was established in 1880 under the original title of Northampton St. James (Saints) by Rev Samuel Wathen Wigg, a local clergyman and curate of St. James who was a resident of the nearby village of Milton Malsor in the house known as 'Mortimers'.[3] This is how the club got its two nicknames of The Saints or Jimmies. His original concept was to promote "order" to his younger parish members by creating a youth rugby club, with the philosophy of a "hooligan sport designed to turn them into gentlemen".

It was not long before Northampton had one of the major rugby union teams in the country. Twenty years after its establishment, the first Saints player, local farmer Harry Weston, was awarded an England cap.

As the club progressed through the early years of the 20th century one player dominated this era for the club, Edgar Mobbs. Edgar was a hero throughout the town. He was the first Northampton player to captain his country but is best remembered for his exploits in World War I. After initially being turned down as too old, Edgar raised his own "Sportsman's" battalion otherwise known as Mobbs Own. Edgar was sadly killed in battle, leading his battalion over the top by kicking a rugby ball into No-Mans land on 29 July 1917 attacking a machine gun post and his body was never found. The club arranged the Mobbs Memorial Match as a tribute. It had been played every year since 1921 between the Barbarians and East Midlands at Franklin's Gardens.

In this postwar period the Saints continued to grow, and they started to produce some of the best players in England, some of whom went on to captain their country. They were one of the driving forces in the English game for the next 60 years producing players such as Butterfield, Jeeps, Longland, White and Jacobs but hard times were ahead.

The club failed to keep pace with movements within the game and top players were no longer attracted to the Gardens, where a 'them and us' mentality had built up between the players and those in charge of the club. Some former players formed their own task force which swept out the old brigade in the 1988 'Saints Revolution' and put a plan into action which would put the club back at the top of the English game.

Barry Corless, as director of rugby, set about restructuring the club and soon the Saints were back on the way up, helped by the signing of All Blacks legend Wayne 'Buck' Shelford.

In 1990, Northampton Rugby Union Football Club gained promotion to the then First Division and the following year made their first trip to Twickenham to play Quins in the Pilkington Cup Final. They lost in extra time but the foundations of a good Saints line-up were beginning to show in the following few seasons.

Tim Rodber and Ian Hunter forced their way into the England setup while youngsters like Matt Dawson and Nick Beal came through the ranks.

In 1994, Ian McGeechan took over as Director of Rugby, and although the club were relegated in his first season, they returned in style the next season, winning every single game of their campaign and averaging 50 points a game. This season is referred to by many fans of the club as the "Demolition Tour of Division Two".

Professional era

Bruce Reihana

In 1995, rugby union turned professional and the club was taken over by current chairman local businessman Keith Barwell.

In 1999, Saints came runners-up in the Allied Dunbar Premiership, their league campaign climaxing with a crucial home local derby with eventual winners Leicester Tigers which they lost 15–22.[4] Ian McGeechan had left the club at the end of the previous season to return to coach Scotland, and was replaced by former Saints player John Steele who had done well on a limited budget at London Scottish. Steele relied on the foundations laid by McGeechan, as well as the inspirational captaincy of Samoan Pat Lam to lead the club to European success the following season.

In 1999–2000, the club became a Public Limited Company (Plc) and shares were issued to the public; in this season the Saints lost in the Tetley's Bitter Cup Final to Wasps, but beat Munster 9–8 in the European Cup Final to win their first major trophy.

After a poor start to the 2001/2002 season, former All-Black coach Wayne Smith was appointed as Head Coach. He went on to transform the club in five short months. A team who looked down and out in November were moulded into a side that reached the Powergen Cup final and again qualified for the Heineken Cup. Travis Perkins became the club's main sponsor in 2001.[5]

In recent times the club narrowly survived relegation from the Premiership, after the then coach (Alan Solomons) was sacked in the middle of the 2004–5 season. The coaching role was passed onto the former first team mates Budge Pountney and Paul Grayson to tide the team over. They had a slow start in the 2005–6 season, but continued to stay mainly unbeaten after the New Year. Budge retired at the start of the 2006–7 season leaving Grayson in overall control.

The Saints would again compete in the 2006-07 Heineken Cup. They finished second in their pool, behind Biarritz Olympique, the runners-up from the previous season. Northampton qualified for the quarter-finals and actually met Biarritz in Spain. Despite being in last place of the English league at the time, they defeated the French champions 7–6 to advance to the semi-finals.


On 28 April 2007, despite a 27–22 victory over London Irish at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton were relegated from the Guinness Premiership. A "behind the scenes restructure" led to the brief appointment of Peter Sloane as Head Coach, from the role of forwards coach. Paul Grayson became the skills and backs coach.

On 9 June 2007, Northampton announced that England Saxons coach Jim Mallinder would become the new head coach and Director of Rugby, with his assistant Dorian West also following as assistant coach. Peter Sloane has since left the club.

On 22 March 2008, Northampton beat Exeter Chiefs to ensure their promotion and a return to the Guinness Premiership. On 12 April 2008, Northampton beat Exeter Chiefs 24–13 at Twickenham Stadium to win the EDF trophy. On 26 April 2008 they ended their National Division One season undefeated with 30 wins from 30 games.

A new era

In the 2008–09 season, the Saints easily avoided the drop, finishing eighth on the table and only losing one game at home to Newcastle Falcons. They also lifted the European Challenge Cup, defeating French side Bourgoin 15–3 in the final on 22 May 2009 at The Stoop in London.[6] The victory gave them a place in the 2009–10 Heineken Cup.

In March 2010, the Saints won the LV= Cup final against Gloucester Rugby 30–24, gaining them their fourth piece of silverware in three years, and a place in the following season's Heineken Cup. They also finished second in the Guinness Premiership, losing to Saracens 19–21 in the semi-final played at Franklin's Gardens, and progressed as far as the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup losing to Munster at Thomond Park, Limerick.

At the start of the new 2010/11 Aviva Premiership questions had been raised about the size of the Squad, however on the opening game against Leicester Tigers the Saints marched over the Tiger with a number of player that stood out. Saints had a excellent unbeaten run and didn't suffer when the autumn internationals came round. However around Christmas Saints struggle to find form and had six straight defeats, but after the Six Nations Saints rose from the ashes and finished fourth in the Aviva Premiership, losing to Leicester in a controversial semi-final. Saints also went undefeated into the final of the Heineken Cup, where they were beaten by Leinster 33-22, at the Millennium Stadium.


Northampton Saints have played at Franklin's Gardens since 1880, when the club was born. Franklin's Gardens is a purpose-built rugby stadium near the town centre. It is about 1,250m from the train station and about 2,000m from the bus station. The stadium holds 13,591 people. The stadium also has 40 corporate boxes. Each can hold from 8 to 24 people. The four stands are: Tetleys Stand; Burrda South Stand; Church's Stand; and Sturtridge Pavilion. It is also a multi-functional conference centre as well as the only UK Guinness Premiership ground with its own cenotaph. The Northampton board recently announced they would be applying to increase capacity to 17,000 with the redevelopment of the North Stand. It was intended this would be funded by a £40 million investment by supermarket chain Asda, who would build a new store on the land currently used as training pitches. Northampton Saints had an unbeaten home record that stretched from March 2007 to March 2009, much of this record was set during the Saints' 2007/08 promotion from the RFU Championship (previously National Division One). During the 2008/09 Guinness Premiership regular season the Saints only lost at Franklin's Gardens on one occasion, to the Newcastle Falcons.

The average attendance at the Gardens this season is 13,428.

Heineken Cup

On 24 January 2011, the club announced that their forthcoming Heineken Cup quarter final match against Ulster is to take place in the Stadium:MK in Milton Keynes, because the Franklin's Gardens ground is too small to meet the minimum 15,000 seats demanded by the organisers.[7] It was a game they would eventually win, beating Ulster 23-13.

The Saints had previously indicated that they might play future major games at Stadium:mk as their proposal to expand Franklin's Gardens using an enabling (ASDA supermarket) development was experiencing difficulties because of conflict with national planning policy. The Saints' board has recently attracted strong criticism for choosing to move a key game against Irish team Munster to Milton Keynes, seen by many as an act of hypocrisy given their previous criticisms of the local council.

Current standings

English Premiership Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Harlequins 8 8 0 0 234 143 +91 23 13 2 0 34
2 Saracens 8 7 0 1 195 122 +73 17 12 1 1 30
3 London Irish 8 3 1 4 221 195 +26 20 18 2 4 20
4 Gloucester 8 4 0 4 167 163 +4 14 15 0 3 19
5 Sale Sharks 8 4 0 4 177 201 -24 18 19 1 2 19
6 Northampton Saints 8 4 0 4 177 136 +41 15 10 1 1 18
7 Bath 8 4 0 4 153 169 -16 12 9 0 2 18
8 London Wasps 8 4 0 4 148 169 -21 15 10 1 1 18
9 Exeter Chiefs 8 3 0 5 150 170 -20 14 17 1 4 17
10 Leicester Tigers 8 2 1 5 210 231 -21 20 25 1 3 14
11 Worcester Warriors 8 2 1 5 110 151 -41 7 13 0 2 12
12 Newcastle Falcons 8 1 1 6 130 222 -92 9 23 0 1 7

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places, and receive berths in the 2011–12 Heineken Cup. Blue background (rows 5 and 6) are clubs that do not make the play-offs, but will receive Heineken Cup berths. Red background (row 12) to be relegated if the champion of the RFU Championship meets the requirements for promotion. Updated 09 October 2011 — Current English Leagues

source:Premiership Rugby



In 2008, after being promoted from the championship to the premiership, Saints changed from Kooga to Rhino. After two years with Rhino, and coming second in the table, Saints switched again to BURRDA, a Swiss sports apparel company. Northampton have signed a four year deal with BURRDA which have brought back the old-fashioned ring but with a modern twist for the home shirt and the away shirt with its black and gold ring with a peppermint light green background. This is a big step for Burrda because the Saints and the Scarlets are BURRDA's first rugby teams that they have supplied kit to.


Head coach/director of rugby

First team

  • Jim Mallinder – Director of rugby
  • Dorian West – Forwards coach
  • Paul Grayson- Assistant coach
  • Nick Johnston – Performance director
  • Tom Bullough – Conditioner
  • Paul Shields – Team manager


  • Alan Dickens – Academy manager
  • Dusty Hare – Academy recruitment and development manager
  • Mark Hopley – Academy coach
  • Ross Stewart – Elite Player Development Group manager

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.

Player Position Union
Dylan Hartley (Captain) Hooker England England*
Mike Haywood Hooker England England
Andy Long Hooker England England
Brett Sharman Hooker England England
Paul Doran-Jones Prop England England
Danny Herriott Prop England England
Tom Mercey Prop England England
Brian Mujati Prop South Africa South Africa
James Palmer Prop England England
Adam Parkins Prop England England
Ben Prescott Prop Scotland Scotland
Soane Tonga'uiha Prop Tonga Tonga*
Alex Waller Prop England England
Ethan Waller Prop England England
Tom Warren Prop England England
James Craig Lock England England
Christian Day Lock England England
Darrell Dyer Lock England England
Adam Eustace Lock England England
Tom Hicks Lock England England
Courtney Lawes Lock England England*
Samu Manoa Lock United States United States
Mark Sorenson Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Alex Woolford Lock England England
Calum Clark Flanker England England
Phil Dowson (vice-captain) Flanker England England
Sam Farmer Flanker England England
Ben Nutley Flanker England England
Jamie Warr Flanker England England
Tom Wood Flanker England England*
James Ingle Number 8 England England
Roger Wilson Number 8 Ireland Ireland
Player Position Union
Stuart Commins Scrum-half South Africa South Africa
Alex Day Scrum-half England England
Lee Dickson Scrum-half England England
Ryan Glynn Scrum-half England England
Martin Roberts Scrum-half Wales Wales
Glyn Hughes Fly-half England England
Ryan Lamb Fly-half England England
Stephen Myler Fly-half England England
Jon Clarke Centre England England
James Downey Centre Ireland Ireland
Jamie Elliott Centre England England
Tom May Centre England England
George Pisi Centre Samoa Samoa*
Scott Armstrong Wing England England
Vasily Artemiev Wing Russia Russia*
Chris Ashton Wing England England*
Noah Cato Wing England England
Paul Diggin Wing England England
Anders Mogensen Wing Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Tom Collins Fullback England England
Ben Foden Fullback England England*
Charlie Sadler Fullback England England
César Sempere Fullback Spain Spain
Greig Tonks Fullback England England
  • *Will miss beginning of club season to participate in World Cup


Current England Elite Squad

Superposition Name Position Date Of Birth (Age) Previous Club Notes
Forwards Dylan Hartley Hooker March 24, 1986 (1986-03-24) (age 25) Worcester Warriors
Paul Doran-Jones Prop May 2, 1985 (1985-05-02) (age 26) Gloucester Rugby
Courtney Lawes Lock February 23, 1989 (1989-02-23) (age 22) Youth
Tom Wood Flanker November 3, 1986 (1986-11-03) (age 25) Worcester Warriors
Backs Chris Ashton Wing March 29, 1987 (1987-03-29) (age 24) Wigan Warriors
Ben Foden Full Back July 22, 1985 (1985-07-22) (age 26) Sale Sharks

Current England Saxons Squad

Superposition Name Position Date Of Birth (Age) Previous Club Notes
Forwards Christian Day Lock June 24, 1983 (1983-06-24) (age 28) Stade Français
Phil Dowson Flanker October 1, 1981 (1981-10-01) (age 30) Newcastle Falcons
Backs Jon Clarke Centre October 22, 1983 (1983-10-22) (age 28) Bristol Rugby
Stephen Myler Fly Half July 21, 1984 (1984-07-21) (age 27) Salford City Reds

Internationally capped players

Transfers 2011–12

Players In

Players Out

International caps in the club's history

Hall of Fame

The history of Northampton Saints is one filled with illustrious names. To recognise and honour their time in the black, green and gold the club established its Hall of Fame in 2004. To date 11 legendary players have been inducted:

  • Ron Jacobs- Prop
  • David Powell- Prop
  • Ray Longland- Prop
  • Gary Pearce- Prop
  • Vince Cannon- Lock
  • Don White- Flanker
  • Tim Rodber- Back row
  • Dickie Jeeps- Scrum-half
  • Gordon Sturridge- Fly-half
  • Jeff Butterfield- Centre
  • Edgar Mobbs- Winger

Club honours

Seasons summary

Season Domestic League Domestic Cup European Cup
Competition Final position Points Competition Performance Competition Performance
2010–11 Aviva Premiership 4th 65 LV Cup 2nd in pool 2010–11 Heineken Cup Runners-up
2009–10 Guinness Premiership 2nd 71 LV Cup Winners 2009–10 Heineken Cup Quarter-finals
2008–09 Guinness Premiership 8th 49 EDF Energy Cup Semi-finalists European Challenge Cup Winners
2007–08 National Division One Winners 143 EDF Energy Trophy Winners Did Not Qualify Did Not Qualify
2006–07 Guinness Premiership 12th 33 EDF Energy Cup 4th in pool 2006–07 Heineken Cup Semi-finals
2005–06 Guinness Premiership 6th 53 Powergen Cup 2nd in pool European Challenge Cup Quarter-finals
2004–05 Zurich Premiership 11th 40 Powergen Cup N/A European Shield N/A
2003–04 Zurich Premiership 3rd 70 Powergen Cup N/A European Shield N/A
2002–03 Zurich Premiership 3rd 62 Powergen Cup Runners-up European Shield N/A
2001–02 Zurich Premiership 5th 56 Powergen Cup Runners-up European Shield N/A
2000–01 Zurich Premiership 4th 59 Powergen Cup N/A European Shield N/A
1999–00 Allied Dunbar Premiership 5th 35 Tetley Bitter Cup Runners-up 1999–00 Heineken Cup Winners

See also


  1. ^ "Glossary 2009/10". Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  2. ^ , Stadium:MK Later Rounds of Heineken Cup "Clubs : Northampton Saints". Weedon Road, Northampton NN5 5BG, England: Premiership Rugby. 2010-11-26. , Stadium:MK Later Rounds of Heineken Cup. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Rev Samuel Wathem Wigg at Milton Malsor Historical Society". Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  4. ^ "Rugby Union | Leicester move out of sight". BBC News. 1999-03-13. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  5. ^ Northampton Saints, Retrieved 30 November 2010
  6. ^ Pryor, Matthew (2009-05-23). "Northampton lift European Challenge Cup". The Times (London). Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  7. ^ Northampton forced to move Ulster tie to Milton Keynes – BBC Sport
  8. ^ "Northampton Saints sign Saracens wing Noah Cato". BBC News. 5 April 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Northampton sign duo". Planet Rugby. 12 May 2011.,25883,3823_6928261,00.html. 
  10. ^ "Northampton sign prop Paul Doran-Jones from Gloucester". BBC News. 31 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Northampton Saints sign Martin Roberts & Ryan Lamb". BBC News. 18 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Northampton Saints snap up Toulon's Tom May". BBC News. 7 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Northampton Saints sign Russia international Artemiev". BBC News. 9 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Northampton Saints line up George Pisi for next term". BBC News. 1 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Northampton Saints bring in USA lock forward Samu Manoa". BBC News. 18 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Northampton Saints sign Martin Roberts & Ryan Lamb". BBC News. 18 March 2011. 
  17. ^ Danny Herriott. "1st XV Squad". Northampton Saints. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  18. ^ James Palmer. "1st XV Squad". Northampton Saints. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  19. ^ Ethan Waller. "1st XV Squad". Northampton Saints. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  20. ^ Darrell Dyer. "1st XV Squad". Northampton Saints. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  21. ^ Alex Woolford. "1st XV Squad". Northampton Saints. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  22. ^ "1st XV Squad". Northampton Saints. 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  23. ^ Alex Day. "1st XV Squad". Northampton Saints. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  24. ^ "Vickerman to make Wallabies super: Hickey". 13 January 2011. 
  25. ^ "Clark joins Sid as forwards coach". This is Devon. 25 July 2011. 
  26. ^ "Sale to sign forwards Mark Easter and Kris Chesney". BBC Sport. 8 March 2011. 
  27. ^ "Leeds Carnegie re-sign Joe Ford from Northampton". BBC Sport. 7 June 2011. 
  28. ^ "Geraghty confirms Brive move". Planet Rugby. 22 May 2011.,25883,3551_6945381,00.html. 
  29. ^ "Moseley sign lock Dan Sanderson from Birmingham and Solihull Bees and Northampton Saints". Birmingham Post. 13 May 2011. 
  30. ^ "Chron Exclusive: Bruce Reihana to leave Northampton Saints to join Bordeaux". Northampton Chronicle. 29 April 2011. 
  31. ^ "London Irish sign Saints and Scotland centre Joe Ansbro". BBC Sport. 3 February 2011. 
  32. ^ "Bruce Reihana and Shane Geraghty exit Saints for France". BBC Sport. 24 May 2011. 
  33. ^ "Neck injury forces Northampton's Ryan Powell to retire". BBC Sport. 16 August 2011. 

External links

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