Northampton Saints can today confirm that Ollie Sleightholme has signed a new contract to remain at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.
The 22-year-old wing – formerly of Northampton Old Scouts and Northampton School for Boys – joined Saints’ first-team squad on a full-time basis ahead of the 2018/19 season, having graduated from the Club’s Academy (which he initially joined aged 13).
Sleightholme has since scored 25 tries in 53 appearances in Black, Green and Gold, and scooped both of Northampton’s Try of the Season and Young Player of the Season awards at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
With six scores in just nine appearances so far this term, Sleightholme is already looking to kick on again for Saints for the remainder of the 2022/23 season and beyond.
“Northampton Saints is my home and everything about the place made me want to stay here for longer,” he said.
“All the players and every member of staff here is like family. We’re such a tight-knit group and having the opportunity to be around all your best mates every day is very special.”Ollie Sleightholme
“All the coaches here – Phil Dowson, Sam Vesty, Ian Vass, Matt Ferguson, James Craig, Jake Sharp and everyone else – are so supportive of the players in a way that I don’t think you get at other clubs. I believe in the direction they are taking the team 100 per cent; everyone in the group knows their job and what we need to do to improve and challenge for trophies.
“I’m also really grateful to the medical, physio and S&C staff for getting me here too, as they have helped me through a couple of injuries over the last few years.
“The amount of effort and level of detail that goes into improving you as a player at Saints is second to none, so I’m really excited to sign on again at Franklin’s Gardens and commit to the Club for the foreseeable future.”
Following in the footsteps of his father, Saints legend Jon, Sleightholme made his first-team debut against Bristol Bears in the 2018/19 Premiership Rugby Cup before taking just 15 seconds to score on his Gallagher Premiership debut against Wasps that same season.
The rapid wing had earned his first contract after catching the eye for Saints’ Under-18s and Premiership Rugby 7s sides.
Sleightholme earned a silver medal with England Sevens during the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, and represented the Red Rose at Under-18 and Under-20 level – playing in the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship. An injury prevented him from earning a first senior cap in 2021 after being called into England’s summer training camp.
But the 2021/22 campaign saw him play his most rugby in a single season to date, as Sleightholme made 15 appearances to help Saints qualify for the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals, while he was joined in Northampton’s senior ranks by his younger brother, Frankie, during the summer.
Saints’ Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson, said: “Ollie is a tremendous athlete, and someone who always works very, very hard to improve himself for the team.
“His finishing ability is obvious from his excellent record of scoring tries, but he’s also a really popular member of the group and a great lad to be around – which is what we want here.
“Ollie’s a local guy and one of the many homegrown players in our squad who we are very proud of. It’s absolutely imperative we keep characters like him in Northampton, so we’re delighted to see him sign on again, and we’re looking forward to getting him back from injury soon.”