Last Word on Rugby is refocusing attention on the Gallagher Premiership ahead of the 2021/22 season. This article centers on Northampton Saints, who finished fifth last season but will be looking for a closer top-four challenge this time.
Saints biggest departure in offseason
Props Francois van Wyk and Owen Franks have departed, which could impact the potency of the Saints scrum. However the departure they may regret the most is Harry Mallinder.
Whilst the utility back has not featured so often due to injury, it looked as though he was destined for huge things when he first appeared for Northampton.
His long-term injuries have meant that others such as James Grayson and George Furbank have jumped ahead of Mallinder, to the extent that Mallinder has taken up a chance to play in Japan.
Key signing for Northampton Saints
No huge names have arrived at the Gardens. Tow key signings are Fiji international scrum half Frank Lomani, and Chris Cook, adding real depth at number nine.
The departure of Shaun Adendorff to France means that Juarno Augustus, signed from the Stormers, will take on a key ball-carrying role. He will be supported in this by Samoan International Brandon Nansen.
Lewis Ludlam (see main photo) and Teimana Harrison in the back row will be some of the Most Valuable Players for Saints. With Courtney Lawes likely to be absent during international periods, these two will play key, senior leadership roles.
Equally, DoR Chris Boyd will hope Rory Hutchinson, James Grayson, and George Furbank can kick on to fully establish themselves as Premiership stars. He gve his views after the Saints preseason hit-out.
💬 “We’re a long way from where we need to be, but some of the foundation in there was good.”
Here’s what Chris Boyd made of our preseason opening win over Bedford. pic.twitter.com/NVlnlsRjpk
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) September 4, 2021
Northampton Saints 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership focus
Northampton have often run hot and cold under Boyd and has struggled when not able to play a fast attacking game. The return of Saracens and the improvement of rivals Leicester may push them down the 2021/22 table.
Top six is achievable, with their home form key to this. Having struggled quite badly at home without fans, supporters will be a very welcome sight in round one.
Northampton Saints host Gloucester in Round One on Saturday 18th September 15:00 BST.
Last Word on Rugby will be assessing each Gallagher Premiership team in turn. You can read more analysis on the likes of Bath Rugby, Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester Rugby, and more feature articles here.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images