Mallinder explains decision to depart Saints

Harry Mallinder has thanked everyone at Saints for their support after exiting the club to pursue a playing opportunity in Japan.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:02 pm
Harry Mallinder

Mallinder is moving to the Top League in a bid to get more playing time, and he says he will be looking to make his mark at fly-half for his new club.

The 25-year-old has scored 233 points in 83 appearances since coming through Saints' Academy system and making his debut in 2014.

Injuries have hampered his progress, with a serious knee problem suffered in October 2018 forcing him to spend a massive 456 days on the sidelines.

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Mallinder has endured setbacks since then and been unable to cement his place in Saints' starting 15, with George Furbank and Tommy Freeman emerging from the Academy.

But he has never been short of ability, which he displayed when captaining England to victory in the 2016 World Rugby Under-20s Championship.

Mallinder went on to become a regular in the first team at Franklin’s Gardens, racking up almost 50 appearances in two seasons alone and kicking Northampton into the 2017/18 Champions Cup with a crucial match-winning conversion against Stade Francais.

And while that unlucky run of injuries has limited Mallinder’s appearances for Saints in recent seasons, the versatile back has also made a sizeable impact off the pitch at the club by working closely with the Northampton Saints Foundation.

His contribution towards the charity’s innovative programmes – which help local young people return to education, training or employment – earned him the Gallagher Premiership’s Community Player of the Season award during the 2019/20 season.

But with his focus firmly on returning to his best form on the field, Mallinder is looking forward to a fresh challenge overseas in Japan

Mallinder said: “This wasn’t an easy decision for me, as Northampton has been my club for the last 14 years.

“I’m leaving on great terms with everyone and I feel privileged to have played for Saints, a club that will always be special to me.

"I am grateful for everyone’s support through the very good times and the more difficult ones.

“I would like to thank everybody associated with the club.

"A special thanks to the medical and S&C departments for all their help, the coaches for their continued support and of course the top set of lads within the playing group.

“I’ve been a Saint over half my life and so this is a big change, but one I am very excited about.

"I am going to Japan to play fly-half, so I’m excited to test myself in a new environment.

"I can’t wait to get out there for the rugby and cultural challenge.

“I wish the club and all Northampton supporters the very best for the future, and thank you all for the great support you have given me during my time here.”