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John White: Read the Chairman's Programme Notes

Northampton Saints chairman John White is looking forward to honouring a great Saintsman in Rob Horne this weekend. 

Read John's welcome and more in today's official matchday programme, on sale for £5 (with all the Club's profits being donated to Rob Horne)...

Good afternoon and welcome to Twickenham for today’s Gallagher Premiership clash between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers!

As you will all know, this match will be the latest tussle between two powerhouses of English rugby, and the battle for the East Midlands bragging rights continues to be the fiercest rivalry in the country. But today’s game is of course about more than that, as we come together at Twickenham Stadium to play in aid of Rob Horne – a true Saintsman.

Rob was seriously injured during our last match against Tigers back in April, after he led the side out as captain at Welford Road. A freak collision in the opening moments of the game caused an avulsion of his brachial plexus, and Rob was forced to retire from rugby as a result. Rob, whose talent on the field was appreciated around the globe after his exploits with the Wallabies, is still adjusting to this life-changing event – but the Club was inundated with messages of support and requests for ways to help Rob with his rehabilitation. That brings us to Twickenham today, and I hope that as well as a fitting send-off for a wonderful player and man in Rob Horne, we are able to raise some awareness of the severity of brachial plexus injuries and the need for research into this area.

We have tried to ensure that we are as well set up as possible to maximise the funds raised for Rob in both the build-up to this game and during today itself. Northampton Saints donated £5 on behalf of every season ticket holder to get the ball rolling, and thousands of pounds have since been raised with supporters also contributing during match ticket purchases and the Club’s elite partner Carlsberg making a substantial donation. On top of this, all profits from both our limited edition ‘RH13’ t-shirt (which sold out in remarkable time) and from every programme sold today have gone into the pot – so thank you for doing your part in buying this edition! Bucket shakes for Rob are in action all day here at Twickenham plus we have an incredible auction in place, with fantastic prizes from the players, the RPA and some of Rob’s friends in Australia on offer. Take a look at what’s available and please give generously at www.robhornederby.co.uk

Thanks must go to the RFU and Leicester Tigers who have played a huge part in allowing this game to be held at one of the biggest stages in world rugby – we are really grateful for the part they have played in supporting Rob. I must also thank the whole Premiership Rugby family; I’ve had both fans and board members from other clubs reaching out to find out how they can help. But above all I want to thank our faithful Saints supporters and the rugby family who have donated; the appreciation for Rob so far has been monumental.

Away from Twickenham, the Club is delighted to be hosting our annual Season Ticket Holder forum on 29 October. Earlier this month I had the good pleasure of meeting many of you at the Annual General Meeting and I would like to thank all those who attended. The STH forum is a valuable evening for the Club to hear the opinions of our most loyal supporters, and we have put plenty of attention on many of the issues raised in the past. For those supporters who can’t attend we are hoping to stream it online, so watch this space.

We were also thrilled to announce last week that Franklin’s Gardens will host the 2018/19 Tyrells Premier 15s Final .

John White, Saints Chairman

We were also thrilled to announce last week that Franklin’s Gardens will host the 2018/19 Tyrells Premier 15s Final and we look forward to making it a memorable occasion. Women’s rugby continues to thrive across Northamptonshire and the East-Midlands. In August the Club held its first girl’s coaching camp and events like the Redrow Homes Girls 7s are hugely popular. We hope that by hosting the women’s showpiece final we will continue to generate interest in the women’s game and drive up participation, whether that’s playing, coaching or volunteering.

Today, after a brilliant bonus-point win away at Bristol last weekend, the boys will need your support to make this stadium feel just like Franklin’s Gardens. There’s nothing like having a partisan crowd behind you, so Chris Boyd and his squad are counting on all of you to turn this into a true home match for the men in Black, Green and Gold. The East Midlands Derby is always a huge occasion, but with this the first meeting between the sides at HQ since the 2013 final, plus Saints doing the double over Tigers last term, it certainly feels like even more is on the line.

Chris Boyd and his squad are counting on all of you to turn this into a true home match for the men in Black, Green and Gold.

John White, Saints Chairman

Make sure you get your tickets for our next match back at the Gardens on Saturday 13 October, as French giants Clermont Auvergne return to Northampton in the European Challenge Cup. Hopefully we get as good a game as last year’s which was an absolute belter!

Come on you Saints!

John White
Chairman