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Don White
  • Played448


Years: 1943-1961
England caps: 14

Committee Member
Club President

If you are seeking for a prolific scorer, proven leader and consistent performer at club and international level, look no further than Donald Frederick White.

For 18 years White dominated Northampton Saints on the playing field. His statistics alone are impressive - 448 appearances (second on Saints' all-time list); 930 points (fifth on the list); and 116 tries (ninth). He spent six seasons captaining the Saints, also led the East Midlands and Barbarians and coached England for two seasons - the first man to do so.

It was on February 27th 1943 that the association began when the 16 year-old from Earls Barton made his debut as a prop - against Coventry. Understandably, the Second World War restricted appearances in the early part of his career, but the end of hostilities saw his playing go from strength to strength.

By now a flanker, and in the army, White was part of the England side that faced Wales as international rugby resumed in 1947. He took to it immediately by scoring a try in a 9-6 England victory. It was not the only time he helped secure surprise wins in the Principality, as in his first season as Saints captain (1949/50) he led the team to their first ever victory at Stradey Park against Llanelli.

Under White's leadership Saints went from strength to strength. Household names such as Jeff Butterfield and Dickie Jeeps joined the club, and Saintsmen - including White - formed the backbone of the East Midlands side that won the County Championship in 1951.

White's international career lasted six years until 1953 and consisted of 14 caps and two tries. His association with the national side did not end there though as in 1969 he became England's first coach. The appointment had immediate effect as England secured their first ever win over South Africa.

Off the field White was still heavily involved at Franklin's Gardens, and would continue to be on the committee, including the presidency in the club's centenary season, until 1988. The overthrowing was acrimonious but necessary as the new regime set about reversing the losing trend of the 1980s.

In his later years White became a familiar face at the Gardens once more and was one of five legends to open the Church's Stand in 2002.

White died in Earls Barton in May 2007.

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