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Next generation are ready after Northampton Saints title win

Northampton Saints victory over Bath in the Gallagher Premiership final marked a changing of the guard at Franklin’s Gardens.

Club legends Courtney Lawes, Alex Waller and Lewis Ludlam have all played their final game for the club; however, Northampton are arguably in a stronger place to kick on next season.

It would be ridiculous to suggest that the departures of these three players would be inconsequential. Lawes has played his entire career at Northampton to date and in that time has recorded 283 appearances. Similarly, Waller is a one-club man, devoting his career to Saints, and  Ludlam has captained the club as well.

The void left by these hugely influential players will be hard to fill, but Saints have the resources to do so.

READ MORE: Courtney Lawes makes Lions admission following Premiership triumph

Conveyer belt of talent at Northampton Saints

Emmanuel Iyogun of Northampton Saints-Credit: IMAGO

Emmanuel Iyogun has been patiently waiting for his chance in the starting line-up and will be a perfect replacement for Waller. Tarek Haffar is also developing into a brilliant player, and will only get more exposure to senior minutes next season.

The incredible emergence of England U20 star Henry Pollock means that next season he will surely play a regular role in the first team. Pollock is one of England’s brightest talents and increased game time will only serve to improve his attributes further.

Elsewhere in the back-row, the likes of Tom Pearson, Sam Graham and Juarno Augustus have proven themselves to be fantastic back-rowers in their own right, and they too will be keen to keep their spots in the team.

Saints now have the experience of winning tough games, but also being able to win when not firing at their best. Courtney Lawes exclaimed how “we (Northampton) tried so hard to lose it!”, but they weren’t their typical selves (largely in part to the quality of Bath), but they got over the line when it mattered.

This season saw them cement their foundations for success too. Mitchell and Smith’s partnership and the role of the back three have really transformed the fortunes of the Northampton attack, and their defence has also come on leaps and bounds since Lee Radford’s arrival.

International honours

Additionally, the inclusion of six Northampton players in the senior England squad for the summer tour to Japan and New Zealand is proof of their impressive progression. Players such as Fraser Dingwall and Ollie Sleightholme are rightly being rewarded for their dazzling performances at club level; making it hard for Steve Borthwick to overlook them for international selection.

For Northampton, this is only the start. Their first title win in 10 years will only make them hungry for more. Retirements and a few key players moving on will, of course, hurt; but the youth and talent coming through at Northampton will be more than enough for Saints to be an exciting side for many years to come.