Phil Dowson’s Northampton Saints squad today began preseason preparations ahead of the 2022/23 campaign at a temporary new training base – Northampton School for Boys.
The men in Black, Green and Gold are looking to build on a top-four Gallagher Premiership finish in 2021/22, and as attention now shifts to next term, have set up camp at NSB until the end of August with work underway on the Club’s new training facilities at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.
Last week preparation work began on Saints’ High Performance Centre, an indoor training field which will be based on the Club’s current main training pitch, and is expected to be completed halfway through the 2022/23 season.
While the squad’s main training pitch is being repurposed, the Club is also midway through an extensive renovation to the second training field at Franklin’s Gardens, which will create a second outdoor surface to replicate the main stadium pitch and compliment the High Performance Centre.
With the new outdoor training pitch set for completion by the start of September, Dowson and his squad will tackle the first six weeks of preseason at NSB – taking advantage of the school’s training pitches, gym, changing rooms, pool, meeting rooms and canteen.
“We’ve always had a fantastic relationship with NSB,” said Saints’ Chief Executive, Mark Darbon.
“Over 50 Saints first-teamers have come through the school before joining our Senior Academy full-time; NSB have nurtured nine of the current squad, including the likes of Courtney Lawes, Ollie Sleightholme, Tom Collins, and James Grayson.
“Our community coaches also deliver to NSB’s students on a regular basis, with several former players also helping to coach the school’s rugby programme in recent years.
“Their wonderful facilities, coupled with the close proximity to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, meant it was an easy decision for us to relocate to the school for the start of preseason this year.”Mark Darbon, Northampton Saints Chief Executive
“We’re excited to continue to build on the relationship between Saints and NSB this season.”
Richard Bernard, Headmaster at Northampton School for Boys, added: “NSB’s relationship with Saints continues to go from strength to strength, and we are delighted to provide training facilities over the summer period for the team’s use.
“We are very grateful for the extensive and specialised input that the Club annually injects into our highly-successful school rugby programme, and we derive great pride from the regular flow of NSB students who are signed into Saints’ first-team squad.
“The players and staff can expect a warm NSB welcome this week, and it will be an inspirational experience for our students to have such a high performing Gallagher Premiership outfit on-site.”