To give Northampton Saints a clear victory in the 7s Bowl final of Singha Premiership Rugby, two tries were scored by Tom Collins, which include one right at the death.
By his efforts, team won with a 24-21 over Leicester Tigers.
Jack Stapley of Tigers and George Furbank of Saints in the first half exchanged scores. They do it before a mazy run through the Leicester defense heart by Tom Collins, who made it at half-time 10-7 to the hosts.
Tom Ffitch changed his own score to beat the Tigers and put them back ahead, before the lead of 21-10 was extended by the Charlie Dockery with just two minutes remaining at the Gardens of Franklin.
But never-say-die spirit of Saints was on full show when Tom Emery with his astonishing momentum bring them back in the game before the second score of Collins of the game, let the hosts to have a dramatic win at the last-minute.
Northampton Saints the host of the championship had secured their place earlier in the final with the victory of 28-12 over the London Irish at the front of a home support.
Ollie Sleightholme of Saints gave them the lead before Collins- Ollie Hassell leveled the things for the Irish.
By his efforts, George Simpson brought back Irish to within two, however, the Saints moved into the final of the game with two tries of second-half which was made by Fraser Dingwall and Alex Mitchell and it brought delights in the team of the Saints.
British and Irish Lions will on Saturday start off their first Test game against the All Blacks in Auckland.
However, this might be an easier sail through than the dilemma Lions boss, Warren Gatland is currently facing concerning the players that would make up his squad for the game.
His toughest call will see him make a decision on whether to choose Elliot Daly or George North.
North, who plays at wing position for Waleswas the biggest weapon for Gatland during the Lions last tour back in 2013.
The tour saw him terrorizing Australia and scoring tries as the Lions emerged victors in both Test.
Unfortunately, this trip has had nothing like that from North and this puts Gatland at a dilemma.
To go with his instinct would see the Kiwi coach keeping faith with the 6ft 4in Northampton Saints juggernaut for the first of the three Tests.
However, after watching pacy Englishman Elliot Daly tear it up on the wing for the midweek side in their 34-6 mauling of the Chiefs on Tuesday in Hamilton, Gatland is surely to be in to minds.
“Elliot looked sharp,” Gatland stated after the game.
He also stated that the selection meeting for the first Test was going to be a tough one and they were okay with it that way.
“The selection meeting [for the first Test] will be tough — and that’s the way we want it,” said Gatland.
“Guys put up their hands here [against the Chiefs] and there will be some healthy debate.” he concluded.
Four years ago, Gatland sent social media into a meltdown after taking a tough decision to ax O’Driscoll, Lions icon from the series decider game against the Wallabies. Fortunately, they triumphed with a 41-16 win.
Northampton Saints No 8 Louis Picamoles gave a shock to the team after signing a pre-contract agreement with Montpellier to rejoin it once the tour of France of South Africa will get over this summer.
Picamoles, joined Northampton leaving Toulouse signing the contract of three-years in 2016, and for five years he played in Montpellier until 2009. Now he is returning to his former club.
Altrad hhe tas confirmed this news and while confirming it, he said, “The team has signed a pre-contract with Louis Picamoles, so that should join the team as soon as the tour of France gets over. It is really important good for the national team to have a player of France playing in the Top 14.” Even the William Hill rugby betting didn’t see it coming, with Picamoles having been odds-on to stay at Northampton for another season.
In-order to take Picamoles on its team, Montpellier had paid a hefty fee, this is because Picamoles was voted the player of the year by the Northampton club and, according to Jim Mallinder director of Northampton in the contract of Picamoles, there was no release clause present and thus he could not be sold.
Mallinder on the joining of Picamoles when asked, he said “Picamoles has signed a contract for three-years with the team, and till now he has just finished the first year of his contract and there is no clause present in the contract of Louis that can let me go away. So, it is not possible that Louis can go anywhere else.” “Northampton is not a selling club, we all our good players to remain in the team.”
According to the reports, French Rugby Federation (FFR) is keen to sign Picamoles with their team on a unique central contract. However, after the end of France tour, it will get clear that from behalf of which team Picamoles will continue his game.
Something that is common is rumors that keep rising about movement of players between clubs which often turn out to be true or not.
The latest rumor doing the rounds is Dan Biggar of making for a move to this Aviva Premiership league club. This Wales pivot player might be targeted or the news might not have any base. As per information from Ospreys, they insist that there has been no contact from Northampton Saints to propose a move for the fly half player Dan Biggar.
The region and WRU ruled out possibilities of any move for Wales No 10 from the beginning of the season of Six Nations. However the Aviva Premiership club might be considering him to replace JJ Hanrahan. Hence, there was a recent rumor that a deal has been formed and Biggar would be heading out to be part of the Saints team at Franklin’s Gardens when his contract expires in the year 2018. The ospreys managing director has branded this as fake news.
He stated that there was a tweet where it was mentioned that Dan is signing up for the team, but this has not been brought to the attention of the team not has Northampton made any such announcement. The contract also has to be vetted by the WRU and Ospreys insists that Northampton has not approached them yet. There is some complication in Biggar’s contracts. That is because his contract is of the NDC category. This means that his contract is decided by the Welsh Rugby Union. They pick up sixty percent of the wages he earns and Ospreys picks up the remaining. It remains to be seen if there is any base to the rumors that have been going round. Even if the transfer does take place, how it is done remains to be seen.
Confirmation from the Ireland camp has it that the likes of Johnny Sexton, Sean O’Brien and Keith Earls would be available for selection in preparation for the country’s opening Six Nations Championship match, where they would go head-on with Scotland.
The venue is Murrayfield, on a Saturday.
While the trio will be joining in trainings ahead of the game, the official communique released by Paul Den, the new Ireland manager, has it that due to a recurrence of an existing groin injury, Andrew Conway has been ruled out of the game. He already is back to Munster where he would undergo treatment.
Commenting on the news, Dean had explained,
“It’s all positive [news] this week with one exception Andrew Conway aggravated an existing groin complaint. Unfortunately he is not with us and has been ruled out of the Scotland game.”
Rob Kearney is another player that would be looking to prove his fitness levels. Earlier in December, he had sustained an ankle injury in a showdown with the Northampton Saints.
In their Champions Cup matches against Montpellier and CastresOlympique, he came off the bench in order to prove his fitness. Kearney, who sat alongside Dean, was asked about how he feels about the pressure on him to improve fitness so as to retain his place in the squad. He said,
“It’s not in the slightest for the first time. I’ve been feeling like that for a long, long time, right back to [when] Geordan [Murphy] and Girvan [Dempsey were playing].
“I’m fully aware of the huge level of competition that’s there. It’s really important now that with the depth there right across the whole board, I know if I’m not playing well I won’t be there too long,” he concluded.
With the Christmas celebrations just around the corner, hundreds of the local people and supporters of the Northampton Saints Squad have been very generous in their donation of toys for the Big Christmas Toy Collection.
Travis Perkins bosses, had gone on to thank both supporters, the local people and their customers for their generous donations at the collection, which had taken place just before Northampton’s Aviva Premiership game against Newcastle on Friday.
Hundreds of the new toys donated by the people to the collection which is now in its fourth year, will be sent out to children and all young people in need across the town by the Northamptonshire Social Services in time for Christmas.
Paul Tallentire, the divisional chief executive officer of Travis Perkins who was at the event organized by employees of the company and the Northampton Saints team was pleased by the people’s generosity and thanked them profusely.
“The fantastic generosity of local people and Saints supporters just grows and grows every year we hold this important event with the club and we are hugely appreciative of the kindness that people show.
“I would like to thank everyone who has donated, whether if they are supporters of the Saints, customers of Travis Perkins, or our employees. Every donation is gratefully accepted and everyone who has taken part will know that they have made a real difference to a child or young person who really needs it.”
He noted that even though Christmas was an expensive period, it was heartwarming to see that people could bring out some spare cash to purchase something so as to put a smile on some children’s face.
Northampton Saints have brought in a new center for their team in the form of Tongan international Nafi Tuitavake.
He moved on to Narbonne last year from his native New Zealand. This Tongan international was a regular player for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby for two years. He also played for North Harbor in the ITM cup for close to 10 years. He has plenty of match experience and this will come in handy for the Northampton rugby team.
Nafi is well built and stands 5 feet 11 inches tall. He will be a force to reckon with for the Saints backline and has got the pace and the skill to overpower his opponents. He has also represented the New Zealand sevens team in the World Rugby Sevens Series and therefore has international exposure as well.
Jim Malinder, the Director of Rugby of Northampton, is happy that Tuitavake is part of his team and is looking forward to see him play for the club. They are mighty pleased with what Nafi has been able to do so far in his rugby career. He has the experience of playing on the big stage as he has represented the New Zealand Sevens team and also featured in Super Rugby. Jim feels that his pace, ability and his international experience will help in boosting the squad. There is no doubt in Jim’s mind that Nafi will be a huge success in Northampton and the team is ready to welcome him aboard.
Tuitavake said that he enjoyed the time he spent at Narbonne, but the offer from Northampton was one that he could not resist. He is waiting to join the world class pool of players in Northampton and do his bit for the club. He has some friends in the Northampton squad and they are Ken Pisi and Ace Tuala.
Jason Leonard, being part of the winners’ league himself, is focusing on Paul Hill and how he can help be an asset to the team he belongs to. Leonard is RFU President. He has won every type of honor that exists in the rugby union. These comprised of Grand Slams as well as the World Cup in 2003 among other accolades. He now believes that Hill, having received caps twice, would be able to help England in their game against Australia.
Jones had guides England when they played a Grand Slam and had played a key role in the country’s dominant position in Sydney and Melbourne. Hill would be part of Red Rose and Jones is hopeful that his legacy will be continued by Hill who would add to the tally. As Hill prepares to play for the senior level, the upcoming tour would help Hill to showcase his playing skills. Hill has already won about 19 test caps in the Under 20s category. He also participated in the world rugby under 20s championship and reached the finals. The 2014 crown was clinched by his team. This is an instance of how the premier teams like Northampton help to develop fresh young talent who can help England to their way to greatness in the world of rugby. This time the focus is on the rising star Paul Hill along with other promising players from Northampton.
Kahn has showcased fine playing skills during his tenure with the Saints. The transfer to Bath has been finalized this May. Bath has been sprucing up the ranks, especially as it lost its chance at the Champions Cup this year. The CEO and director of rugby are warming up their strategies and choosing the players carefully for the first team.
They have been competitive in the market, having picked up Kahn in a bid to infuse new blood in the ranks. Kahn on the other hand, feels excited with the opportunity of playing for Bath. After all, it is a rugby team with a good reputation across the continent. It is a good brand to be associated with. There is a large fan following of this club which plays in a large stadium area as well. For Kahn the excitement stems from gaining an opportunity to learn their tactics. He feels that the team has an attacking ethos that is exciting. As a result of joining the team he would be privy to such playing tactics. He also feels that the team focuses on developing the personal playing skills of the players. That would certainly be beneficial for him.
Rugby will make its entry at the Franklin’s Gardens as there was an announcement made today by the Premiership Rugby stating that Northampton would be hosting one of the legs of Singha Seven Series this year.
The Northampton Saints will be taking Saracens and Harlequins on 29th July as the curtain raiser of the season’s tournament makes its entry in the seventh season. In fact, Franklin’s Gardens would be hosting a leg of the series for the fourth time and both Premiership Rugby and Saints are looking forward to form the crowd over 11,000 which was the count of the crowd in 2014.
Tickets would be available now on sale at the official website of Northampton Saints and individuals who wish to renew their existing season tickets before the end of May would be receiving great discounts on their tickets.
The runners and winners of each leg will be heading to the Ricoh Arena to play their final match on the 6th of August.
It is going to be the biggest in the Rugby Sevens history as the sport would have more people like never before to form its debut at the Olympic games in August. The coaches of Saints have given young players a chance in the previous years to show their skills in the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens series. Some of the people featured in this competition since 2010 include Harry Mallinder, Teimana Harrison, Tom Collins, Ben Nutley to name a few. Well, the squad had age group internationals like Rory Hutchinson and Sam Olver included last year. The future of the club will be decided in July when the real action takes place. The Northampton Saints are all set to perform in Franklin’s Gardens and let’s hope that they do well like always.