Talented young duo sign new deals at Saints

Saints have tied two of their hottest prospects to new deals at Franklin's Gardens.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 16th April 2020, 9:53 am
Ollie Sleightholme
Ollie Sleightholme

Wing Ollie Sleightholme and scrum-half Connor Tupai today became the latest duo to commit their futures to the club.

The Academy graduates, who are both 20 years old, have impressed in the first team so far this season, having followed in their fathers’ footsteps to run out at the Gardens.

Sleightholme first linked up with the Academy seven years ago, and progressed through the ranks to make his full debut last season. He took just 15 seconds to score on his first Gallagher Premiership appearance, against Wasps.

Connor Tupai

That kicked off a superb run of scoring for the fleet-footed winger, with Sleightholme currently boasting 10 tries in just 17 first-team appeances so far.

Son of former Saints and England wing Jon, he also boasts international honours having represented England Sevens in the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, and England Under-20s in 2019 and 2020.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this squad," Sleightholme said.

"We have a really diverse back three and the competition to play is really high – as a young player, you want to be able to prove yourself amongst the most talented guys.

“This group got a taste of winning silverware again last season and now we’re pushing on for more of the same.

"It’s such a special feeling to know the town is behind us every time we run out at Franklin’s Gardens, so we want to deliver for them week in, week out.”

Tupai made his first-team debut in last season’s Premiership Rugby Cup, but has really made his breakthrough during this campaign.

Saints boss Chris Boyd has trusted the Rotorua-born No.9 in several key clashes this term – including Premiership victories over Worcester Warriors and Harlequins, as well as both Champions Cup ties against Leinster.

“Obviously I’m thrilled to be staying with Saints and to be given the opportunity to continue to develop myself as a player,” said Tupai.

“The culture within the squad is incredible, the coaches have a brilliant track record of bringing through young players, and the club means an awful lot to my family and I – so it was an easy decision to sign on again, as Saints ticks every box for me.”

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