It's a busy summer for the Saints Academy youngsters © Northampton Saints
Academy News Saints Academy hitting the ground running in August
The next generation of Saints players will have their opportunity to make their mark in black, green and gold this summer in a wide-ranging programme of fixtures.
Teams from Ireland, Wales, France and England will give the Saints Under-18s and Under-19s a variety of challenges, and with a two-game tour of Dublin there will be ample opportunity for some team bonding, too!
The fixtures open on Wednesday, August 13th with a home game against Newport-Gwent Dragons (2pm), followed two days later by a clash with the Ospreys (7pm), also on home turf.
The following week sees the Under-18s head to Dublin for a four-way tournament that will include games against Leinster Schools on August 21st and a team from Luanguedoc, France on August 24th.
Then it is back to Franklin’s Gardens for the annual fixture with Leinster Under-19s, which will be played at 3pm on Friday, August 29th.
The summer is rounded off with a tournament against other Aviva Premiership clubs on Saturday, August 30th. Saints will play Sale (1:30pm), Leeds (2:15pm) and Newcastle (3:00pm), with all three games being played at Leicester Grammar School.
With an Under-18 game against Bedford also scheduled for later in the autumn, together with the second Premiership Rugby Academies League starting on October 25th, Academy coach Mark Hopley says that there will be plenty of game time to help the club’s youngsters develop.
“Training gives all the coaches the chance to know the lads, but it is only in a game situation where we can see how they perform and react to what is in front of them,” he said. “This is why we have put together a programme of matches that will put them up against teams and players that they might not have come up against before.
“This year’s Under-18s have a lot to live up to, not least because we are the current Premiership Rugby Academies League champions. That means that all of the other teams will be looking to raise their game against us and we will have to rise to the challenge.
“However we’ve got confidence that this season’s Under-18s have the ability to compete. There are some talented players in the group – quite a few of whom have also played at international age group level – and we’re looking forward to seeing them develop.”
Entry into all home Academy fixtures are free for Season Ticket Holders.