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Nine players will be leaving Saints this summer
Nine players will be leaving Saints this summer

Saints confirm nine players to leave Club this summer

Northampton Saints can today announce that nine players will depart the Club on the expiry of their contracts this summer.

Hooker Reece Marshall is the longest-serving departee having played at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens since the 2014/15 season, while fellow front-rowers Nick Auterac, Conor Carey and Karl Garside will also be moving on next season.

Academy graduates JJ Tonks, Connor Tupai, Josh Gillespie, Ollie Newman and Leroy O’Neil also leave Northampton having all made first team appearances during their tenure at the Club.

“All nine players have made a significant contribution to Northampton Saints during their time at Franklin’s Gardens,” said Director of Rugby, Chris Boyd.

“Reece Marshall has been a Saint for seven seasons and made over half a century of appearances for Northampton in that time, so in particular he has been a great servant to the Club.

“But every one of these players has been involved in first-team rugby for Saints and they have all had a positive influence on our group – both on and off the pitch. They all depart with our best wishes for the future.”

Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby

“JJ, Connor, Karl, Josh, Ollie and Leroy are all ambitious young guys who need more playing time to progress further, but for now they remain dedicated to their training to help the whole squad finish the Gallagher Premiership season as strongly as possible.”

Saints have already confirmed the signings of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Queensland Reds), Angus Scott-Young (Queensland Reds), James Ramm (NSW Waratahs), Callum Braley (Benetton), Ethan Waller (Worcester Warriors), Sam Graham (Doncaster Knights) and Robbie Smith (Newcastle Falcons) ahead of the 2022/23 campaign – while a further eight youngsters have also been handed their first professional contracts and will join the Club’s Senior Academy on a full-time basis in July.

Incoming Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson, added: “Our playing group for next season is close to being finalised and we’re confident we have added some real quality in key positions throughout the squad.

“Of course, we wish every player departing the Club this summer the very best for the future. They have been completely committed to Saints throughout their time at the Gardens, so we would like to thank them for all they’ve done here in Black, Green and Gold.”

A product of the Club’s Academy, Marshall signed on for Northampton full-time ahead of the 2013/14 season and has since made 60 appearances in all competitions for Saints.

The hooker broke into the team during the 2017/18 season before turning out 24 times the following campaign as Saints reached the knock-out stages of every competition and claimed the Premiership Rugby Cup title – although injuries have since hampered Marshall’s progress at Franklin’s Gardens.

Auterac joined Saints from Premiership rivals Harlequins in the summer of 2020, and – after debuting against his former side, Bath – made 33 appearances in total during his time at Franklin’s Gardens.

A former Premiership finalist with Bath, the loosehead prop has been a regular in Northampton’s first team for two seasons and grabbed his only Saints try in the 2021/22 season opener against Gloucester on home soil.

Arriving at Saints from New Zealand side Otago ahead of the 2019/20 season, Tonks made 11 senior appearances in his debut campaign in Black, Green and Gold across the Gallagher Premiership, Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup competitions.

The flanker has since added a further 13 Northampton caps and one try (against Newcastle Falcons in March) to his tally, as well as featuring on-loan for Bedford Blues as part of Saints' strategic partnership with the Championship outfit.

Scrum-half Tupai is another product of Saints’ Academy system, and has been in the Club’s senior squad since the start of the 2018/19 season – when he made his Northampton debut and then featured home and away against Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Following his father and former Saintsman Paul into the first-team squad at the Gardens, Tupai has gone on to make 14 appearances in total while also representing partner club Bedford Blues in the Championship.

Signed from Top14 side Perpignan as injury cover last October until the end of the current season, tighthead prop Carey has made 14 appearances this term for Saints – including three in Europe against Racing 92, Ulster and Gloucester.

After sustaining a serious knee injury against Harlequins last month, Carey will complete his rehabilitation at Franklin’s Gardens before deciding on his future when back to full fitness.

Garside made his debut for Northampton while on loan from Ampthill in 2018 – first donning the Black, Green and Gold jersey against Bristol Bears in the Premiership Rugby Cup – before joining Saints permanently following a successful trial period.

The prop made his Gallagher Premiership debut later that year and would go on to make 12 senior appearances for Northampton, while also featuring for Bedford Blues as part of Saints’ strategic partnership with the Championship side.

After catching the eye at Millfield School, fleet-footed winger Gillespie signed on with Northampton’s Senior Academy ahead of the 2019/20 season.

The youngest Saints debutant of the professional era – aged 18 years and 15 days when came off the bench against Wasps in 2018 – Gillespie scored his first points in Black, Green and Gold in 2020, and the former England Under-20 wing added two more to his tally in nine senior appearances.

Joining Saints’ Senior Academy for the 2019/20 season, Newman featured for Northampton in the Premiership Rugby 7s in 2019 before making several appearances for the Wanderers side in the Premiership Rugby Shield the following year.

After featuring for Bedford Blues as part of Saints’ strategic partnership, the back rower was rewarded for a string of promising performances with a senior debut in the 2020/21 season finale at Bath. Newman added three more senior appearances to his tally during the 2021/22 campaign.

Graduating from St Joseph’s School and rising through the age groups at Ipswich RFC, Leroy O’Neil linked up with Saints' Senior Academy ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Originally a centre when he first joined the pathway at 13 years old, O'Neil transitioned to prop as he progressed through the age-groups and made his senior Club debut against Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership Rugby Cup in 2022.

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