Tom Collins, Will Hooley and Alex Day are just three youngsters to sign new deals © Getty Images
Academy News Youngsters put pen to paper with Saints
Northampton Saints has today announced that a host of the club’s young players have put pen to paper on new contracts, including a number who have made their mark in the first team this season.
The most recognisable name to have signed a new deal is Tom Collins. The 19-year-old has played both on the wing and at full back this season in some of the first team’s most notable wins, including the Heineken Cup victory over Leinster in Dublin and the LV= Cup semi-final success against Saracens.
Fly half Will Hooley has also become a familiar face in the match day squad since the turn of the year. After impressing for Moseley in the Championship, Hooley – who helped England win the Junior World Championships last summer – made his senior debut in the LV= Cup pool match against Saracens and has since also played in the Aviva Premiership.
Alex Day partnered Hooley at England Under-20 level, and the scrum-half has also picked up valuable time in the first team this season. The 21-year-old scored his first two tries in black, green and gold in the LV= Cup win over Gloucester last November, and also played in the competition’s final in March.
Another of the Saints’ quartet of Junior World Champions, loose-head prop Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, has also agreed a new deal to stay at his home-town club, as have locks Alex Woolford and Jordan Onojaife and hookers Matt Williams and Reece Marshall.
Meanwhile two of the current crop of England Under-20 internationals, fly half Sam Olver and wing/full back Howard Packman, have extended their own stays at Franklin’s Gardens, as has wing Josh Skelcey, whose own Under-20 ambitions were unfortunately curtailed by a pre-Christmas injury.
All these eight players have experienced first team rugby this season, and five other teenagers will be hoping to follow in their footsteps having signed their first professional contracts to step up into the Saints Senior Academy.
James Fish (hooker; Trent College), Rory Hutchinson (centre; MPW Cambridge), Lewis Ludlam (back row; St Joseph’s College), Harry Mallinder (centre; Rugby School) and Josh Peters (lock; Oundle School) all made significant contributions to the Saints Under-18s’ Premiership Rugby Academies League campaign. They have all played Under-18 rugby for their countries, too, Hutchinson with Scotland and the other four with England.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder is delighted to see local players come through the Academy system into the full-time professional squads.
“We are seeing some quality players come through the Saints Academy system, something which reflects the hard work and commitment of the players, the Academy staff, and their parents,” he said. “We think that they all have bright futures, and we’re looking forward to seeing them develop here at Franklin’s Gardens.”