Have you ever wondered who would make up the all-time Northampton Saints XV? Well, the Club’s main partner, Travis Perkins, have decided to answer that question once and for all!
After rounding off the voting for the tight five, we move to the back of the scrum and voting is now open to select two Flankers. Just fill in the form below to tell us your favourite-ever flanker to play for Saints – the top two results will make the final XV.
Voting will continue over the next few weeks, asking Saints supporters to select their favourite-ever players to don the Black, Green and Gold jersey until we have the ultimate Saints XV.
And for each position, one lucky voter will be selected at random to win one of 15 exclusive ‘WE MARCH ON’ bobble hats up for grabs!
But with over 2,000 Saints to choose from, we’ve narrowed the Flanker category down to these nine nominees to help you make your choice:
Blair Swannell – #64
Debut: 1896 | 116 apps
Saints’ first-ever Lion, going to Australia in 1899 and to Australia and New Zealand in 1904, Swannell’s appearances for the Club were restricted to 116 due to travelling the world in the merchant navy – but he made his mark. A legendary but controversial character who loved nothing more than a scrap, he was loved at Saints but feared by opponents. His record with the Lions is as good as any – playing in seven Tests and winning six. After the 1904 tour he stayed in Sydney and became the first Saintsman to play for the Wallabies. Having earlier served in the Boer War, Swannell joined the Australian Infantry as a major in 1914. He was killed by a Turkish sniper while leading his men at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
Freddie Blakiston – #494
Debut: 1919 | 87 apps
Blakiston played flanker for Saints, England and the British & Irish Lions, but showed his true heroism during WW1 as he rescued wounded men when an ammunition delivery to the front line was attacked by the Germans. He was subsequently awarded the military cross, and Saints’ squad complete the preseason ‘Blakiston Challenge’ annually in his honour.
Eric Coley – #532
Debut: 1920 | 292 apps
Eric Coley made his debut for Saints in 1920, going on to play for the club 292 times in 14 seasons. He was capped twice by England – against France in 1929 and Wales in 1932 – and was also a Lion, having toured Argentina in 1927 (playing in two of the four Tests won by the Lions). He was also secretary of the East Midlands Rugby Union and from 1937 to 1948 was an England rugby selector – the first Saintsman to hold the position.
Billy Weston – #605
Debut: 1922 | 390 apps
Son of Saints’ first England international Harry, Weston made his club debut as an 18-year-old and went on to make 390 appearances – seventh on the club’s all-time list. His scoring was certainly impressive, too, with 48 tries and a healthy reputation as an accurate kicker when called upon.
Don White – #1028
Debut: 1943 | 448 apps
For 18 years White dominated on the playing field for Northampton. His statistics alone are extraordinary; 448 appearances (second on Saints’ all-time list), 930 points (fifth on the list), and 116 tries (ninth). He spent six seasons captaining Saints, also led the East Midlands and Barbarians, and coached England for two seasons.
Bob Taylor – #1295
Debut: 1962 | 313 apps
Taylor served as the RFU’s president after winning 16 caps for England between 1966 and 1971, and four caps for the British & Irish Lions in South Africa. A player who ‘always appeared to have extra time on the ball’, he retired with over 300 Saints appearances and nearly 300 points to his name, as well as representative honours with the East Midlands, Midlands and Barbarians.
Budge Pountney – #1686
Debut: 1994 | 215 apps
Pountney joined the men in Black, Green and Gold as an 18-year-old, and was at the forefront of a brilliant era for the Club during his 215 appearances. Part of the legendary Heineken Cup win over Munster, Pountney also skippered Scotland during his time at Franklin’s Gardens, before taking the first-team reins in the autumn of 2004 alongside Paul Grayson to save the side from relegation.
Phil Dowson – #1876
Debut: 2009 | 186 apps
After arriving at the Gardens in 2009, Dowson made 186 appearances and scored 28 tries in Black, Green and Gold. He skippered the team to the 2010 Anglo-Welsh Cup title, and also starred in Saints’ 2011 Heineken Cup run where he scored the opening try of the final. But the real success story came in 2014 as Dowson lifted both the league and European Challenge Cup titles.
Tom Wood – #1890
Debut: 2010 | 208* apps
Wood has done almost everything possible in both club and international rugby during his time in Northampton. He is a Premiership champion (2014), European Challenge Cup champion (2014), Heineken Cup finalist (2011), Premiership Rugby Cup champion (2019), Premiership Player of the Season (2011), Saints club captain (2016), a 50-time England international, and a two-time Six Nations champion (2011 and 2017) – quite the resume!
Know who’s got your vote? Just fill in the form below to cast your vote and be entered into the prize draw! And keep your eyes peeled for the final team on our social media channels once the voting is complete...