Northampton Saints are delighted to announce that the DHL Stormers will head to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens this spring for a blockbuster exhibition clash.
The men in Black Green and Gold will welcome the Cape Town-based DHL Stormers – last season’s URC runners-up and Champions Cup quarter-finalists – on Saturday 9 March (kick-off: 2.30pm).
The fixture will be included in 2023/24 Season Ticket Holders’ packages, and falls during the Six Nations when Saints will be on an extended break from Gallagher Premiership action – adding an important clash into the calendar as Phil Dowson’s side prepare to begin the end-of-season run in.
Saints have never before locked horns with the South African side. John Dobson’s squad boasts a number of Springbok players (who recently represented World Champions South Africa at the Rugby World Cup) amongst their ranks, and the DHL Stormers are set to break new ground as they take to the hallowed turf in Northampton for the first time ever.
“We’re very excited to welcome the DHL Stormers to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens next year,” said Saints’ Chief Executive, Mark Darbon.
“Securing another unique, competitive and meaningful fixture here at the Gardens has been a key priority for us over the last few months, in line with our aim to deliver the best value for money for our Season Ticket Holders, ever since it became clear that the Premiership would be condensed into a ten-team competition this season.
“This fixture takes us to 16 home matches during the 2023/24 campaign, and I hope our supporters will recognise the efforts we have made to host this extra match against a top-quality side who we have never faced before in the long history of the Club, and turn out in their droves to support Saints.”Mark Darbon, Northampton Saints Chief Executive
“But, as well as serving up a great afternoon of action for our Season Ticket Holders, this is important for the squad from a performance point of view. There is a long gap between Premiership matches during the Six Nations period, and our first-team players will need some game time to properly prepare for the run-in to the campaign.
“I know Phil Dowson and the squad are relishing the prospect of testing themselves against new opposition of very high calibre, and no doubt will be taking the opportunity to field a strong side.”
The unique fixture will be particularly poignant for Saints’ No.8, Juarno Augustus, who left the DHL Stormers to head to England in 2021.
Former Saints winger Courtnall Skosan – who scored 19 tries in 37 appearances for the men in Black, Green and Gold before leaving the Club last summer – could also return to the Gardens, after joining the Cape Town outfit ahead of the 2024 URC season.
DHL Stormers Head Coach, John Dobson, believes that this match will be one to look forward to for both sets of fans.
He said: “Northampton are a prestigious opponent and cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens is an iconic rugby venue, so this has the makings of an epic exhibition game.
“Both teams have incredibly passionate supporters and this will be an historic occasion for all involved as we break new ground, so there is a lot to look forward to.”
Saints vs DHL Stormers will be included in 2023/24 Season Ticket Holders’ packages. Tickets for the match will go on general sale in early 2024.