Northampton Saints has today announced four significant contract renewals.
Ben Foden and Christian Day have been important figures in the most consistent run of success in the Saints' history. Both players, who arrived at the same time in the summer of 2008, have won the Aviva Premiership title, lifted multiple European Challenge Cup trophies and brought home the LV= Cup, as well as played in a Heineken Cup final.
Foden – who has played 174 times for the Saints, scored 46 tries and won 34 England caps – has been back to his best at full back so far this season, while Day – who is also a respected figure in his role as chairman of the Rugby Players' Association – is regarded as one of the best lineout exponents in the country. The second row has played 175 times for the first team.
Mikey Haywood and Jamie Elliott, the two other players to renew their commitment to the club, have both come through the Saints Academy system to become established first teamers in their own right and pass the coveted 100-appearance mark in black, green and gold.
Haywood, a product of the Eastern Counties Elite Player Development Group, made his first team debut in September 2011, hitting his hundredth in the LV= Cup semi-final at Saracens in March 2015. Along the way he started both the successful Aviva Premiership and European Challenge Cup finals in 2014, along with the 2014 LV= Cup final and the 2011 World Rugby Under-20 Championship final.
Elliott, who signed full-time with the Saints straight from Bedford School, became the latest Saints centurion in the recent home European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Racing-92, just over five years after making his debut in November 2010. The scorer of the Aviva Premiership try of the season in 2014/15, the winger has also achieved England Under-20 honours and played in multiple finals in black, green and gold.
With both players still in the relatively early stages of their career – Haywood is 24 years old, Elliott 23 – director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes that they can be at the heart of the club’s squad for years to come.
“Having players like Mikey and Jamie come through the Academy system to become important members of the first team squad is very pleasing, and a good indicator of the outstanding work that is being done by our coaches across the region,” he said.
“They have shown time and again that they have the quality to succeed at the highest level, and we’re looking forward to seeing them develop even further over the next few years.
“Meanwhile we’re also delighted that Ben and Christian have also signed new contracts to stay at Franklin’s Gardens. As two of our most experienced players they help set the standards for others, both on and off the field, and they have played important roles in our recent successes.”