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Harry Mallinder to pursue playing opportunity in Japan

Northampton Saints can today confirm that Harry Mallinder will be leaving the Club ahead of the 2021/22 season to pursue a playing opportunity in Japan.

The 25-year-old has scored 233 points in 83 appearances in Black, Green and Gold since coming through the Club’s Academy system and making his debut in 2014.

Mallinder – who has featured at fullback, fly-half and centre during his time at Franklin’s Gardens – departs Northampton in search of more regular playing time in the Top League.

“Harry is a good man and a very popular and talented member of our group, having come through the Academy here with a number of the current first-team squad,” said Saints’ Director of Rugby, Chris Boyd.

“He will certainly be missed around the Gardens, but we understand and support Harry’s decision to pursue more regular playing time after enduring an unlucky run of injuries over the last couple of years.

“I am sure many of our supporters will be disappointed to see him leave Northampton, but this is the right move for Harry at this time in his career.

“As part of the move, it has been agreed that we have the first option to bring Harry back to Saints in two years time, so we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on his progress in Japan and wish him all the best.”

Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby

After captaining England to victory in the 2016 World Rugby Under-20s Championship, Mallinder became a regular in the first team at Franklin’s Gardens, racking up almost 50 appearances in two seasons alone and kicking Northampton into the 2017/18 Champions Cup with a crucial match-winning conversion against Stade Francais.

While an unlucky run of injuries have limited Mallinder’s appearances for Saints in recent seasons, the versatile back has also made a sizeable impact off the pitch at Franklin’s Gardens by working closely alongside the Northampton Saints Foundation.

His contribution towards the charity’s innovative programmes – which help local young people return to education, training or employment – earned him the Gallagher Premiership’s Community Player of the Season award during the 2019-20 season.

But with his focus firmly on returning to his best form on the field, Mallinder is looking forward to a fresh challenge overseas in Japan.

Mallinder said: “This wasn’t an easy decision for me, as Northampton has been my Club for the last 14 years.

“I’m leaving on great terms with everyone and I feel privileged to have played for Saints, a Club that will always be special to me. I am grateful for everyone’s support through the very good times and the more difficult ones.”

Harry Mallinder

“I would like to thank everybody associated with the Club. A special thanks to the medical and S&C departments for all their help, the coaches for their continued support and of course the top set of lads within the playing group.

“I’ve been a Saint over half my life and so this is a big change, but one I am very excited about. I am going to Japan to play fly-half, so I’m excited to test myself in a new environment. I can’t wait to get out there for the rugby and cultural challenge.

“I wish the Club and all Northampton supporters the very best for the future, and thank you all for the great support you have given me during my time here.”

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