Northampton’s Harry Mallinder, Tom Collins, Paul Hill and Ahsee Tuala have all signed new deals to remain at Franklin’s Gardens.
The quartet boast just under 400 appearances and 25 seasons at the club between them, and director of rugby Chris Boyd is delighted to have secured their services for the foreseeable future.
“We’re absolutely delighted to sign these boys on,” he said. “They’re four Saintsmen who’ve been here for a long time and are all an important part of the fabric of our organisation.
“They’ve all played a good chunk for us, but a few of them are still young too and they’re all important cogs in our machine.
“We’re not completely finished in terms of our recruitment and retention, but we’re getting very close to getting the balance we want.”
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HARRY MALLINDER – #1950, Fullback, 74 Saints appearances
A former ballboy at Franklin’s Gardens and Saints academy product, he made his club debut in 2014 but really broke through between 2016 and 2018 where he became a fixture in the first team and earned a call-up to Eddie Jones’ England squad.
The versatile 23-year-old – who also previously captained England U18s and U20s – is equally comfortable at centre and fly-half, and is now back in first-team contention after missing most of the 2018/19 season through a serious knee injury.
“The club was good to Harry over the last 18 months and he’s been good to the club too,” said Boyd. “He’s done a lot of work for the Saints Foundation so he’s deeply entrenched in the fabric of Northampton Saints. This is home for Harry and we’re really pleased he’s staying on.”
— Northampton Saints ? (@SaintsRugby) February 26, 2020
TOM COLLINS – #1927, Wing, 92 Saints appearances
The Northampton-born 25-year-old has been a fixture on the wing for Saints since Chris Boyd’s arrival and is set to bring up a century of appearances this season.
The fleet-footed speedster has notched up 29 Saints tries, 16 of which have come in the last 18 months, and Collins was the club’s second-highest try-scorer last season.
After representing England at U19 and U20 level, initially broke into the Northampton team during the 2013/14 season and was named the LV= breakthrough player of the season for his standout performances the following campaign.
Boyd said: “He brings that little bit of X-factor. When you look at our highlights packages, you see how many times Tommy Collins is involved in those moments. When he’s hot, he’s very hot, and he’s a really valuable member of this team.”
PAUL HILL – #1959, Prop, 104 Saints appearances
Tighthead prop Hill arrived in Northampton from Yorkshire Carnegie back in 2015, immediately catching the eye of Eddie Jones and winning five caps for England in 2016.
Prior to his first Test cap, Hill had represented his country at U17s, U18s, U19s and U20s level – taking part in two Junior World Championship finals, including the 21-20 win over South Africa in 2014.
The 24-year-old enjoyed his most successful Saints season last term, making more starts than ever before and lifting the Premiership Rugby Cup before claiming his 100th club cap in December against Leinster in Dublin.
“I’m really pleased for him,” said Boyd. “He’s worked really hard to become an important part of our machine. He’s got a big future ahead of him and I’d like to see him stay at Saints for the next seven or eight years. If he does I can see him being both highly capped for the club and going on to play for England again.”
“If Bath’s acquisition of Redpath proves to be as successful as Saracens’ buy-out signing of Mako Vunipola, the chances of this sort of move happening more often in the future are only going to increase,” writes @alexshawsporthttps://t.co/KHIWKrgxJ8
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 25, 2020
AHSEE TUALA – #1956, Fullback, 113 Saints appearances
Tuala became a Saint back in 2015, joining the club initially as injury cover before impressing the Franklin’s Gardens faithful with a stint in the No15 jersey and making his deal permanent that summer.
The 30-year-old Samoa international scored the winning try in the 2017 European Champions Cup play-off final against Stade Francais, securing top-tier European rugby for the 2017/18 season in a fine finish to the campaign.
Tuala received the Saints’ Supporters breakthrough player of the year award for his performances that term and featured heavily the following two years with 55 appearances in all competitions and 14 tries.
Boyd added: “Ace brings a lot of colour to our environment. He is highly skilful, brings a good, calming influence on the team, and he’s a good man to have on and off the field.”
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