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Three Northampton signings, including a National League 2 back-rower

By Liam Heagney
Northampton post-game at Twickenham last Saturday (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Gallagher Premiership leaders Northampton, who this week are preparing to travel to face Leinster in the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals, have continued their planning for next season, confirming the signing on Wednesday of a trio of players from Major League Rugby, the Championship and National League 2 West.

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Luke Green, Fyn Brown and Archie Benson will join ahead of the 2024/25 campaign from San Diego Legion, Doncaster Knights and Luctonians respectively.

Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson said: “We are thrilled to welcome Luke, Fyn and Archie to Northampton. Some of our best signings over the last few years have been guys who have not necessarily followed the ‘conventional’ route into the Premiership.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

“You just have to look at guys like Sam Matavesi, Sam Graham, Tom James, Elliot Millar-Mills and so on to see the quality that can be added to our squad from the Championship and elsewhere.

“We have a great record of bringing players in who can make a big difference, so we hope these guys can tread the same path and we are really looking forward to seeing what they can do in a black, green and gold jersey next season.”

Fixture
Investec Champions Cup
Leinster
20 - 17
Full-time
Northampton
All Stats and Data

LUKE GREEN
The 22-year-old arrives at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens from San Diego Legion where he is currently playing in his second season of Major League Rugby. The tighthead prop represented England at U18s and U20s, having joined London Irish’s academy as a 15-year-old, earning eight caps for the U20s and winning a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2021.

His debut for the Exiles came in the European Challenge Cup in 2020 against Agen, and in total he made eight appearances for Irish – while also featuring regularly on loan at Championship side Ampthill – before moving across the pond to San Diego.

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At 120kgs and 6’2”, Green is a strong scrummager but also mobile and explosive in the loose. To date has made 15 Major League Rugby appearances for Legion, with 14 of those coming as a starter. “Luke was due to play a few games for us in the Premiership Rugby Cup earlier this season, and we were really impressed in training with his attitude and what he could do,” said Dowson.

“He came with a great recommendation from (former Saint) Jon Fisher having come through London Irish’s academy, and he is a set-piece orientated prop who is capable of playing on both sides of the scrum.

“Unfortunately he got injured during that PRC block, otherwise we would have seen him already, but good props who can play tighthead and loosehead are hard to find, and he’s been doing some impressive things too in the MLR with San Diego – being coached by Alex Corbisiero, who also rates him highly.”

FYN BROWN
He will join Saints from Championship side Doncaster Knights, where he has played for one season – making 19 appearances so far. The 21-year-old began his career at Wasps, signing for the former Gallagher Premiership side straight out of school and making his professional debut at 18 against Leicester Tigers.

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During his first year at Wasps, he competed regularly in the Premiership Rugby Cup competition while also playing at Birmingham Moseley in National League 1 on a dual registration. When the club was placed into administration, the 6’4” back row signed for Ampthill, making 18 Championship appearances in one season, before switching to Doncaster in 2023.

Dowson said: “Fyn was at Wasps previously and Tom Cruse had nothing but good things to say about his attitude from spending some time with him there. He is now playing well at Doncaster, and that is obviously a well-trodden path for us with Tom James and Sam Graham both coming to Northampton from the Knights.

“We really like Fyn as he is big, skilful, athletic, and desperate to get better – these are all the qualities we’re looking for in new players. He is predominantly a No6 but can cover the second row, and we’re really excited about getting him involved in our squad and seeing how far he can go.”

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ARCHIE BENSON
He makes the switch to Northampton from Luctonians, having helped the National League 2 West side to their highest-ever league finishes in back-to-back seasons. An ever-present in the Luctionians side, the back row made 26 league appearances this season alone as Lucs ended up second on the ladder.

Benson, 23, began life in Gloucester’s academy as he signed for the Cherry and Whites immediately after leaving Dean Close School in Cheltenham, where he captained the 1st XV and represented England at U18s.

The 6’6”, 106kg flanker – who currently studies agriculture at Harper Adams University – impressed on trial at Saints earlier this season, and has now penned a full-time contract at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens. “Jim Henry (academy coach) flagged Archie to us as a high-quality young player, formerly of Gloucester’s academy, and now doing some great things at Luctonians,” said Dowson.

“We brought him in for a week’s trial here in Northampton earlier this season, and we were very impressed with both his ability and his attitude towards making himself a better player. We really liked what he brought on the pitch; he is tall, rangy and athletic, and understands the game well so runs some good lines.

“He has also got a great work ethic, and since signing has been coming in when he can to start working with our strength and conditioning team to make sure he is giving himself the best possible opportunity to hit the ground running when he joins full-time in the summer.”

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