Born in Crewe, Mark Hopley began his professional rugby career with the Saints in 2005 when he joined the club’s Academy having previously spent a season at Worcester Warriors.
During his five years as a back row at the Saints, Mark made 50 appearances for the club and was an important member of the Saints squad that were immediately promoted back to the Premiership in 2008. His career at the Saints also saw him play regular Premiership and European Challenge Cup rugby. He helped the Saints win the European Challenge Cup in 2009 and the LV= Cup in 2010. Mark went on to represent Birmingham & Solihull and Coventry before hanging up his boots in 2012.
In 2010, Mark also took on a leadership role with the Wanderers which saw him help the club’s youngsters adapt to the rigors of professional rugby. Having ended his playing career at the Saints in 2010, Mark joined the Saints Academy coaching staff. In doing so he became the first member of the original RFU Academy group to become a coach at an Aviva Premiership club.
In his role as Academy Coach, Mark has played an important role in developing young talent within the squad, with a number of his Academy players going on to play first team rugby for the Saints. During his time working with the Saints Academy, he has seen the club reach the final of the Aviva Premiership ‘A’ League on two occasions, in 2014 and most recently, in 2016.
He also guided the Under-18s to the league title in 2014 and helped them finish as runners-up the following season alongside fellow Academy coach Paul Diggin.