Saints put faith in young leadership group
NEWS: Lewis Ludlam has been named Northampton Saints’ co-captain for the 2020/21 season by Director of Rugby Chris Boyd, and will lead the squad alongside Alex Waller this term.
The 24-year-old flank has enjoyed a whirlwind two years since the Kiwi coach arrived at Franklin’s Gardens, initially bursting into the spotlight during the 2018/19 campaign to become a first-team regular for the first time in his fledgling career.
Catching the eye with his dogged ball-carrying and furious work-rate, Ludlam then earned his first international call-up ahead of the World Cup in Japan, and has since won eight caps for England.
Ludlam skippered Northampton on several occasions during the 2019/20 season, showcasing his ability to lead from the front, and will now assume the role on a full-time basis.
Waller meanwhile is closing in on an astonishing 300 appearances for Saints, with the experienced 30-year-old loosehead within striking distance of that milestone in his 12th season at the Club.
This will be Waller’s third campaign as co-captain, first leading the squad alongside Dylan Hartley and then Teimana Harrison last season – who has taken a step back from captaincy duties, but remains a key member of the leadership group at Franklin’s Gardens.
And Boyd believes that in Waller and Ludlam, he has a duo that can help keep Saints’ playing group together and continuing to progress.
“I think the model of leadership and influence we have in place now more accurately reflects the group,” he said. “It’s time for the younger guys coming through to stand up and take some ownership around the place, so we felt having the connection between Alex and Lewis was a really good way to drive that.
“Lewis is someone that speaks really confidently in front of the group; he’s really positive but also happy to call people out when required, and he really embraces everything that playing for Saints is all about.
“Teimana was very happy to continue to captain the team but felt that the group needed a more active style of leadership, and Lewis was really keen to take on the role – I think he is a great man for the job.”
Saints wrap up their preparations for the 2020/21 campaign this week, with a shorter-than-usual preseason schedule concluding with Friday afternoon’s warm-up match against Worcester Warriors at Franklin’s Gardens.
The men in Black, Green and Gold then travel to Sale Sharks the following Friday for their Gallagher Premiership opener at the AJ Bell Stadium.