Saints are looking for their eighth consecutive home victory as they face Bristol Bears this afternoon and John White is thoroughly enjoying watching the men in Black, Green and Gold perform.
Read John's welcome and more in today's official matchday programme, on sale for £3.50...
Good afternoon and welcome back to Franklin’s Gardens once again for this afternoon’s Gallagher Premiership clash against Bristol Bears.
If there’s one thing I’m absolutely certain about for today’s game, it’s that the scoreboard operator is going to be busy. Our two previous outings against Bristol this season have produced 160 points, so we should consider ourselves a little unlucky if we haven’t seen a few tries at full-time.
Like Saints, the Bears like to play a free-flowing style of rugby and are comfortable moving the ball and running from all areas of the pitch. Much of this is down to the coaching philosophy of head coach and former Saint Pat Lam who I would like to offer a very special welcome on behalf of all the Club’s supporters. It is almost 20 years since ‘Lammy’ captained Northampton to Heineken Cup glory and etched his name in Saints folklore. I am personally thrilled to see him doing so well professionally and I have no doubt he will continue to have a long and successful coaching career at the highest level.
"I think a young Pat Lam would have enjoyed playing in our current side."John White
I think a young Pat Lam would have enjoyed playing in our current side, particularly with the likes of tighthead prop Paul Hill and hooker Reece Marshall, who recently agreed contract extensions with the Club. The front-row duo become the thirteenth and fourteenth players respectively to put pen to paper this season. These deals show that Chris Boyd continues to build for the future by assembling a core of promising young players, many of which have come through the Saints Academy.
On that subject we were delighted to announce five up-and-coming Saints to the Club’s Senior Academy set-up ahead of the 19/20 season. Congratulations to Jack Hughes, Ollie Newman, Emmanuel Iyogun, Josh Gillespie and Tommy Freeman whom I’m sure all have very bright futures ahead of them.
Congratulations must also go to Rory Hutchinson who was named Gallagher Player of the Month for February. Rory has been lighting up the Gardens in recent times since he returned from a nasty pre-season injury. He has been in excellent form and we hope he has a long future ahead of him in Black, Green and Gold. This is the second month in succession that a Saints player has won this prestigious award, with Hutchinson following December’s winner Cobus Reinach.
"I’m sure that Nile Rodgers will put on a sensational show and it will be supported by music lovers in the region and beyond."John White
Away from the pitch we announced that we would be welcoming legends of disco Nile Rodgers & CHIC as the second act to perform at the home of Northampton Saints on Sunday 30 March, after smash-hit band Madness grace the Franklin’s Gardens turf two days earlier. I’m sure that Nile will put on a sensational show and it will be well supported by music lovers in the region and beyond. Events like these show that Franklin’s Gardens is not just a rugby stadium, but an excellent multi-use venue which is well suited to host events of this scale.
But back to today. Thanks again for your incredible support and let’s hope we’re celebrating an eighth home win on the bounce when the final whistle blows.
Come on you Saints!