Northampton Saints has today announced that six players have signed contracts with the club.
Newly-appointed club captain Tom Wood leads the list, with freshly capped England internationals Teimana Harrison and Paul Hill also putting pen to paper. The other three are also forwards, flankers Jamie Gibson and Ben Nutley joined by prop Adam Parkins in committing themselves to black, green and gold.
Wood, who was at the head of the team when it ran out for both the 2014 Aviva Premiership and European Rugby Challenge Cup finals, has made 129 appearances for the Saints since arriving in the East Midlands in 2010. An England international as recently as the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Wood was handed the captain’s armband ahead of the 2016/17 season.
Harrison is at the start of his international career, winning his first England caps in the end of season test against Wales and on the unbeaten tour of Australia. These capped a stellar campaign in which the flanker swept the board at the 2016 End of Season Awards, taking home both the Players’ Player and Supporters’ Player of the Season gongs.
Hill is another to have made his full international debut in 2016, helping England to the Grand Slam as well as the Wallaby whitewash. A Junior World Champion, Hill is going into his second season at Franklin’s Gardens, having joined from Yorkshire Carnegie 12 months ago.
Gibson has earned plenty of praise for his work rate, quality and consistency since arriving at the Saints from Leicester a year ago. With England Saxons honours under his belt, the flanker was Player of the Month in October 2015 and made 25 appearances in his first season at Franklin’s Gardens.
After a season disrupted by injury Nutley burst back into the Saints first team at the end of 2015/16 with some powerful performances, not least in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter final away to Saracens. The Academy graduate has played 64 times for the first team.
Parkins has been learning his trade in the front row in the Championship and National Leagues in recent years, as well as regularly playing for the Wanderers in the Aviva ‘A’ League and Mobbs Memorial Match.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that agreeing new contracts with players of this calibre is a statement of intent by the Saints.
“We’re delighted that all six players have signed new contracts to stay at Franklin’s Gardens,” he said. “We’ve seen them all develop massively in their time at the club and to have these deals agreed well before the start of the 2016/17 season means that we can plan with certainty for the future.”
“The Saints is a great place to be and I'm delighted to have signed a new contract,” Wood added. “We've got some quality players here and I'm looking forward to leading the team.”