Saints boss Mallinder hails departing duo

Victor Matfield made his final Saints appearance at Gloucester last Saturday (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Victor Matfield made his final Saints appearance at Gloucester last Saturday (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

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Jim Mallinder has paid tribute to departing Saints duo Kahn Fotuali’i and Victor Matfield.

Both men played their final game in Northampton colours on Saturday as they helped secure a 28-20 Aviva Premiership win at Gloucester.

For Bath-bound Fotuali’i it was an 80th appearance for Saints, having joined them from Ospreys in the summer of 2013.

He played a huge part in the first Premiership title in the club’s history, in 2014, as well as helping them to Amlin Challenge Cup glory in the same season.

And Mallinder said: “He’s been fantastic for us.

“He’s been part of some really good times, winning trophies.

“You can’t ask for any more.

“We picked him up from Wales and he’s a terrific player, a terrific personality and he puts his body on the line, every single week.

“We’ll miss him.”

Matfield linked up with Saints after last year’s World Cup, making his debut in the November win against Gloucester at Franklin’s Gardens.

Kahn Fotuali'i said goodbye to Saints at Kingsholm

Kahn Fotuali'i said goodbye to Saints at Kingsholm

He will now head home as the South African legend considers what to do next, with playing rugby no longer on his radar.

“He’s been fantastic for us,” Mallinder said of Matfield.

“He didn’t come here to play 80 minutes for 32 games a season. We knew he’d be part of the squad and we’re pleased he’s helped us.

“Particularly over the past few weeks, he’s played a massive part for us.”