Reinach: I'll be back for a Saints farewell

Cobus Reinach is planning a future Saints farewell after being denied the chance to say a proper goodbye to life at Franklin's Gardens.

Cobus Reinach is hoping to return to Franklin's Gardens to say a proper goodbye
Cobus Reinach is hoping to return to Franklin's Gardens to say a proper goodbye

The South African star, who moved to Northampton in 2017, has become a big fans' favourite during the past three seasons.

He has scored 31 tries in just 76 appearances for the club and is the reigning players' and supporters' player of the year.

But the lure of the Top 14 means Reinach will be moving on to pastures new this summer as he starts with his new club, Montpellier, on July 1.

And with rugby not due to return in England until after that date due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Reinach will not be able to play again for Saints.

It means his final appearance, though he didn't know it at the time, came at Worcester Warriors in March as Saints sealed a 16-10 Gallagher Premiership success at Sixways.

And though Reinach is clearly sad about not being able to say goodbye as he wanted to, he is excited about the prospect of returning to the Gardens one day in the future.

He said: "It's definitely not the way we wanted things to go but that just means we need to come back to do a little farewell.

"It's actually quite exciting to plan a trip back to the Gardens, watch a game, support like everyone else and then I can have a little bit of time with the boys again."

Reinach's development at Saints has been huge, so much so that he played a part in South Africa's World Cup-winning campaign in Japan last year.

And the 30-year-old said: "Before we came here I was at a stage in my career where I needed change and I needed to chase some more growth as a player.

"Coming here has developed me as a player.

"It's been unbelievable for us as a family and my wife doesn't want to leave here. She tells me every day how beautiful it is.

"Where we're situated we've got the most perfect view and we absolutely adore and love Northampton.

"Saints have always been really good to us, looked after us and I've tried to repay it with the way I've played."

So what have been Reinach's Saints highlights?

"Lifting the Prem Cup last year, meeting new cultures that we've got," he said.

"In South Africa, we're all just one group of people, but coming here you play with Islanders, players from the Wales and Scotland squads and there's a lot of cultures combined.

"That makes you grow as a player and as a person."

Reinach scored the fastest hat-trick in World Cup history when South Africa cruised past Canada in Japan.

And he had the satisfaction of returning to Saints with a winners medal after his side edged out England in the final.

"I got a lot of stick for it because I came in with a cap saying 'we're world champions' but everyone was happy," Reinach said.

"We're a very close team and everyone was happy for me.

"It's the sign of a good team."

Reinach is set to continue training with Saints if they return to the Gardens this month ahead of his move to Montpellier at the start of July.

"I'm definitely going to be part of the training because I'm still contracted until July 1," he said.

"I don't know if we can travel on that date so I might be here a bit longer."

The next adventure will be an interesting one for Reinach, especially as he admits French is not a language he has any knowledge of.

"I struggled a little bit with English so I don't know how I'm going to do in France, but it's another new challenge with new people," he said.

"You put yourself out of a comfort zone so you have to go and get involved and be part of the team.

"My wife is very good with languages and she will pick it up easy. I will just take her everywhere I go. She can do the talking."

And wherever he goes, Reinach will always have a place in his heart for the Saints supporters who have taken him to theirs.

"The fans of Northampton are the heart of the club, the heart of the place," he said.

"They've carried the team and even when you don't get the results, they have your back.

"The fans are amazing."