Northampton Saints: Gentlemen Become Rugby Union Legends
Northampton Saints History and Highlights.
Their official name is Northampton Rugby Football Club. However, when they were first founded in 1880, they called themselves Northampton ST. James.
Interestingly, the club was founded by a man of the church, Reverend Samuel Wathen Wigg, who had the aim of helping youths and promoting order within his ranks.
Rev Wigg’s philosophy for the club was of a “hooligan sport designed to turn them into gentlemen.” As a result, the team developed so quickly that within 20 years, they had produced a player good enough for the England team, Harry Weston.
Others soon followed Weston, including Winger Edgar Mobbs, who became Northampton’s first international captain. Mobbs was the definition of a hero for the Northampton Saints team, as his story goes down in the books as legendary.
Leading the line for the Northampton Saints between 1907 and 1913, Mobbs made over 200 club appearances and seven international caps while leading England to their first Home International Championship win in 18 seasons. He scored a total of 179 tries in that period and still ranks 3rd in the overall rankings for the club. However, his success on the field only added to the legend.
After he retired in 1913, the Army rejected Mobbs due to his age. So he instead created his own battalion and led an assault on a machine gun post during World War 1 at the Third Battle of Ypres. It was here that Mobbs lost his life, but the story of the legend was born.
Silverware and Years in the Top Flight
As the club have had a history of creating world-class players, it’s no wonder they’ve experienced success on the pitch, although some could argue that the trophy cabinet could’ve seen more silverware.
Since turning professional like the majority of English teams in 1995, the Northampton Saints have been successful for the most part. However, some lows have come their way, too. They’ve spent most of the years in the top division; however, relegation has struck occasionally.
After rugby turned professional, the Saints were champions and promoted in their first season, winning the RFU Championship in the 1995-96 season. They’ve also won it on two other occasions as relegation hit with them dropping out of the top division.
However, Northampton have played 31 years in the top flight and haven’t been relegated since 2009. They were champions for the first and only time of the Premiership Rugby in 2014, after finishing second ahead of the play-offs.
They faced rivals Leicester Tigers in the semi-final, winning by a single point, 21-20. However, it meant they had to defeat champions Saracens, with both teams winning a game against each other in the league campaign.
The match went to extra time, and it took a last-gasp try by Northampton Saints player Alex Waller deep into the second half of extra time to send Northampton fans into delirium.
The team lifted their credentials with the club even further that year, as they also won the European Challenge Cup for the second time. Despite being relegated from the Heineken Cup, the Saints players were determined to do well and, after reaching the final, overpowered Bath to win 30-16.
Despite a respectable fourth place in the 2021/22 season, the Northampton Saints have signed a total of 9 new members for the 2022/23 season, looking to bring home another title that has eluded them for some time