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Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.'

The former England and Lions centre, leaves Kingsholm a legend after over a decade's service, and in that time he has matured into a man

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Allan Lamb is helping Dave Ribbans bid for a Twickenham farewell from Saints

By Chris Jones
David Ribbans looks on during the Northampton Saints training session held at Franklin's Gardens on May 09, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Allan Lamb, the former England and Northamptonshire cricket star, is helping Northampton lock Dave Ribbans’ bid to take Northampton into the Premiership final by defeating Saracens at the StoneX stadium on Saturday.


Lamb has been a mentor for South Africans coming to play in the Premiership, particularly those joining Northampton Saints including Ribbans who was born in Somerset West in Cape Province.

The former England batsman is a regular at Franklin’s Gardens and the 68-year-old told BBC Look East: “I love going to the Saints, I love rugby. I remember being asked by some members of the club to support the South African players when they first signed and so I got them over for a barbeque or braai.

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“In terms of mentoring, I am just there for them. As time has gone on, it’s just become a regular thing. I’ve become a little bit of a father figure, I’ve stepped in to help whenever they need anything. I always give them advice if they want it.

“It’s just been an ongoing thing. I heard David was coming over – and they said he’s a great guy – and I’ve introduced him to loads of friends in Northampton, which is great for him.”

Ribbans arrived at Saints in 2017 and this could be his last game for the club if they fail to make the final as he has signed for Toulon, another club with strong South African links.

Ribbans, who has been capped by England but cannot be picked unless deemed a special case as he will be playing in France said: “Through the years, there’s been some ups and downs in my career, especially sometimes with England. There were times when I probably stopped believing in the national set-up and that [playing international rugby] was something I really wanted to achieve.


“I spoke to Jack Willis a lot, with Toulouse, he filled me with so much confidence about loving the French lifestyle, every game is a Test match. It’s nothing against the Premiership but I can’t wait to experience something new.

“In terms of England, I’ve made peace with that decision. It was obviously tough. Let’s see if things change but I have to live with that. I will go and play in a league full of stars.

“If we re-watch the Leicester semi-final last year it was a case of missed opportunities. We don’t mind being in that situation where no-one gives us a chance. Saracens being where they are (finishing top), everyone expects them to steamroll us. We know we have to be clinical, against a team like Saracens, you have to take your chances. All of us want to end on a high, there’s real added motivation. I feel something special could happen.”


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RUGBYPASS+ Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.' Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.'