Travis Perkins put out the call to find out what an all-time Northampton Saints XV would look like – and the Club’s supporters have answered in their droves!
With voting open over the last few weeks to select the best eight forwards to ever pull on the famous Black, Green and Gold jersey, we’ve had thousands of responses and now we can reveal who has made the cut in the pack.
A powerhouse front row of Soane Tonga’uiha (loosehead prop), Dylan Hartley (hooker) and Brian Mujati (tighthead prop) boasts just shy of 600 combined appearances, and the trio helped spearhead one of the most-successful eras in the Club’s history as they packed down together between 2009 and 2013.
The engine room features two British & Irish Lions in Heineken Cup hero Tim Rodber and current Saint Courtney Lawes, with 466 appearances and counting – plus a trophy cabinet full of silverware – for Northampton between them.
Another modern legend in Tom Wood lines up at blindside flanker, with Budge Pountney and Pat Lam (both part of that famous European title run in 2000) rounding off the pack at openside flanker and No.8 respectively.
Voting will begin next week to select the backs for this 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!
TRAVIS PERKINS DREAM TEAM – FORWARDS
1. Soane Tonga’uiha – #1828
Debut: 2006 | 213 apps
Fan-favourite and Tongan international Soane Tonga’uiha – affectionately nicknamed ‘Tiny’ by Saints supporters – made the switch from Bedford to Northampton in 2006 before a career spanning 213 appearances saw him help the side not only secure promotion back to the Premiership but lift the Premiership Rugby Cup (scoring a try in the final) and the European Challenge Cup as well as reach the Premiership Final for only the second time in the Club’s history.
2. Dylan Hartley – #1808
Debut: 2005 | 251 apps
The longest-serving Saint in recent history and England’s second-most capped player of all time, Dylan Hartley – who was named Club captain for the first time at just 23 years old – retired at the start of his 15th season in 2019 after making 251 appearances and eight years wearing the armband. And Hartley’s first stint as skipper, the longest in Northampton’s 130-year history, coincided with the Club’s most-successful period. The men in Black, Green and Gold won the Premiership title, two European Challenge Cups, and an Anglo-Welsh Cup to boot – not to mention reaching separate Premiership and Heineken Cup finals.
3. Brian Mujati – #1879
Debut: 2009| 110 apps
Debuting in Black, Green and Gold at Wembley Stadium in 2009, it did not take Brian Mujati long to establish himself as both a regular starter and a fan-favourite – helping the side to claim the Anglo-Welsh Cup title that season. One of the cornerstones of a formidable Northampton pack in the years to come, ‘Mooj’ was voted Players’ Player of the Season and named in both the Sky Sports and ESPN Dream Teams for 2011, before continuing to write himself into Saints folklore as he helped the Club reach the Premiership Final in 2013.
4. Tim Rodber – #1588
Debut: 1988 | 235 apps
A powerful back row who later moved to lock, Rodber was synonymous with Northampton Saints during the 1990s. He made his international debut in 1992, won the World Cup Sevens with England in 1993, and was an integral part of the successful 1997 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa. But the image that stands out of Rodber is one of the most iconic in the Club’s history as he helped to lift the Heineken Cup in 2000, finally helping the team he served for 13 years (five of which as captain) to claim Europe’s top prize.
5. Courtney Lawes – #1853
Debut: 2007 | 231* apps
Lawes was raised just a stone's throw from Franklin's Gardens, and his world-class talent has made him indispensable to both Saints and England over the last decade. Lawes has been a constant throughout the most-successful period in Northampton’s history, winning the Premiership (2014), European Challenge Cup (2011 and 2014), LV=Cup (2010) and Premiership Rugby Cup (2019) titles in his 231 appearances to date for Saints. Add into that 85 England Tests, three Six Nations titles, one British & Irish Lions tour and a Rugby World Cup final appearance, and Lawes undeniably has one of the most complete CV’s in rugby today.
6. 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!
7. 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.
8. Pat Lam – #1738
Debut: 1998 | 78 apps
Now head coach of Bristol, Lam left the Gardens an all-time hero in 2001. After spearheading success with Samoa and Newcastle Falcons, Lam arrived in 1998 and his first season saw Saints finish second in the Premiership. But it was the 1999/2000 campaign that would stand out – with Lam handed the captaincy, Northampton came so close to a league, cup and European treble, and in front of nearly 70,000 people at Twickenham they beat Munster to see Lam and Tim Rodber lift the Heineken Cup trophy to create one of the defining images of the Club’s history.
Keen to vote on the remainder of the Travis Perkins Dream Team? Voting will begin next week at www.northamptonsaints.co.uk – fill in the form to cast your vote and be entered into the prize draw!