Fixtures - Top Bar

Ma’afu desperate to go out with a bang

Northampton Saints had to wait 134 years to claim their first English title but winning trophies is all Salesi Ma’afu has ever known at Franklin’s Gardens.

And the Australian prop insists nothing less than defending his side’s Aviva Premiership Rugby crown will suffice before he prepares to leave the club this summer.

The 32-year-old joined Northampton from Western Force ahead of the 2013-14 season, helping Jim Mallinder’s side to victory in the Premiership and European Challenge Cup.

Despite another successful season in Aviva Premiership Rugby that has seen him help steer Saints on course to secure a home semi-final, Ma’afu will join French giants Toulon ahead of next season.

And while Ma’afu admits he will look back on his time at Northampton fondly regardless of what happens, he is determined to deliver more silverware before he departs.

We were really happy with the win over Saracens and then we’ve had two weeks to recover and look at the game to build on what we did well ahead of this weekend,” he said.

“Obviously winning the title before I leave is my main goal so I want to put in some good performances and finish the year with a trophy and nothing short of that.

“Then otherwise I just want to play alongside all the guys a few more times before I go off to be part of something different.

“I don’t think I can really know just how much Saints have meant to me until about five or ten years after I leave but I’ve enjoyed playing for the club.

“It’s been a great experience and really the word enjoyment is this main one that comes to mind alongside the brilliant success we had last season.”

Ma’afu will be joined at the three-time European champions by fellow Saint Samu Manoa and the prop admits they will be looking to bring the power that has typified Northampton’s pack this season to their new surroundings.

And while Ma’afu insists he made the right decision in turning his back on the Australian national team to join Northampton, he hopes the recent relaxation of selection rules will benefit his native country.

“I’ll soon be sick of the sight of Samu Manoa but it will be nice to have a familiar face there next season and they might be three-time European champions but it will be a new season,” he added.

“Everything will be up for grabs again and though there’s a lot to look forward to, that’s the challenge to get to that level.

“When I made my decision to leave Australia, still being able to play for the national team was not an option but it was still the best decision of my career at that point.

“It’s interesting to see they’ve changed things for whatever reason and I hope it suits them but I’ve got no regrets about what I gave up to come to Northampton.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so with just two rounds to go, now's the time to click here to book your place at the world's biggest club rugby final.

Latest News

Match Report: Wasps 40 Worcester Warriors 33

Wasps extended their advantage at the top of Aviva Premiership Rugby with a hard-fought victory over Worcester Warriors in an…

Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 30 Sale Sharks 25

His side may have gone level on points with Wasps atop the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, but Exeter Chiefs coach…

Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 31 Leicester Tigers 36

Leicester Tigers sent off Aaron Mauger in fine style with a thrilling win at Franklin’s Gardens and Geordan Murphy believed it…

Match Reaction: Harlequins 53 Newcastle Falcons 17

Returning England stars Mike Brown, Danny Care and Marland Yarde may have shone for Harlequins in their 53-17 victory over…

AUDIO: Northampton Saints 31 Leicester Tigers 36

A major East Midlands derby at Franklins Gardens with it all to play for! Simon Ward was there……. Afterwards Andrew…

Match Report: Northampton Saints 31 Leicester Tigers 36

Owen Williams kicked two penalties in the last three minutes to give Leicester Tigers victory in an East Midlands thriller…

Match Report: Harlequins 53 Newcastle Falcons 17

Harlequins kept their hopes of a top-four Aviva Premiership Rugby finish alive as they surged clear in the second half…

Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 30 Sale Sharks 25

High-flying Exeter Chiefs survived a scare from Sale Sharks to maintain second place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with…

Match Reaction: Bristol Rugby 14 Gloucester Rugby 32

Director of rugby David Humphreys praised the impact of Jonny May as he signalled his return to the Gloucester Rugby…

Match Report: Bristol Rugby 14 Gloucester Rugby 32

Jonny May touched down to conclude a length of the field score to earn Gloucester Rugby a try bonus point…

Northampton Saints’ Brookes prepared for sold-out East Midlands derby

Franklin’s Gardens will be sold out for the East Midlands derby between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers and Kieran Brookes…