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Sam Matavesi joins list of veterans to leave Premiership champions

By Josh Raisey
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Sam Matavesi of Northampton Saints celebrates after scoring their eighthtry during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Gloucester Rugby at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on May 11, 2024 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints have confirmed the departure of Fiji hooker Sam Matavesi with immediate effect to “pursue a playing opportunity overseas”.

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The 32-year-old has spent the last five seasons at Franklin’s Gardens, amassing 89 appearances and scoring 13 tries.

The move means his final Saints appearance was the Gallagher Premiership final victory over Bath, where the 25-cap Fijian enjoyed a 20-minute cameo from the bench.

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The victory over Bath meant Matavesi became the first person serving in the military (Royal Navy) to win the Premiership.

Matavesi joins a lengthy list of seasoned Saints that left at the end of the season, which includes legends Courtney Lawes, Alex Waller and Lewis Ludlam.

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Though disappointed to see Matavesi leave, Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson has backed his current crop of hookers following this announcement.

“We’re disappointed that Sam has decided to move overseas, but we have a fantastic stable of hookers at Saints in Curtis Langdon, Robbie Smith and Craig Wright – so we have every confidence in the quality we have in that space,” said Dowson.

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“Curtis and Robbie are both pushing for international selection with England and Scotland respectively, while Craig is currently England’s standout hooker at Under-20s level.

“Sam has brought a lot, both on and off the pitch, to our group over the last few seasons, so we thank him for his contribution and wish him and his family the best for their next step.”

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