Great teams make great rivals. Along with neighbours Leicester, Northampton Saints have been at the heart of rugby in the Midlands for more than a century. However, the team boasts traditions and a sporting culture all its own. A community club that inspires fierce local passion, it has made its mark at the highest level of club competition, but also experienced the struggle for promotion back to the top flight. Check out the latest matches on offer with Northampton Saints Tickets from Ticketbis!
Northampton Saints – a club steeped in history
Unlike some teams, Northampton’s nickname goes right back to its roots – the original club was established by a local clergyman as Northampton St James. The famous ground at Franklin’s Gardens also dates back to the 19th century: now expanded to a capacity of over 15,000, it plays host to a loyal and good-natured crowd who appreciate fine rugby.
The 1950s were the decade that made Northampton. The stewardship of legendary former player Gordon Sturtridge built a club culture that nurtured talents like centre Jeff Butterfield and scrum-half Dickie Jeeps. Combining flair and determination with sportsmanship, both men summed up the amateur ethos and played at the highest level, touring as Lions.
After a period in the sporting wilderness, Saints returned to top-flight rugby with a new generation of heroes – an era capped when the inspirational Tim Rodber marshalled his pack to a gruelling 9-8 win over Munster in the Heineken Cup.
That 2000 final was a battle of wills, but other paths to glory have been far more exciting. The 2014 Premiership semi-finals matched Saints against Tigers, their local rivals. Facing defeat, Saints fought back with two tries in the final 20 minutes: first a brilliantly determined finish from Welsh flyer George North, then a last-gasp score from Tom Wood.
The final was no anti-climax. Sparkling offloads from Pisi and Burrell outflanked Saracens’ tryline defence, releasing fullback Ben Foden to score, and when a perfect grubber-kick put Pisi through for the game’s second try, Saints were suddenly favourites. But precise place-kicking from Farrell kept Saracens in the hunt, and a Bosch try tied the game at 14-14, only for Hodgson’s conversion attempt to hit the post. In the first final to go to extra time, a close-range scramble gave Saints the crucial try under the posts, and a first Premiership win.
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