Tom Litchfield extends stay at Northampton Saints

Tom Litchfield extends stay at Northampton Saints

Tom Litchfield has committed his future to Northampton Saints, with the Club today confirming that the centre has signed a new deal to remain at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Bedford-born back – who has been deployed on the wing as well as in Northampton’s midfield this season – has donned the Black, Green and Gold shirt 33 times since graduating from Saints’ Academy set-up.

He made his first-team debut on the final day of the 2020/21 season against Bath Rugby, going on to earn nine and 11 appearances over the next two campaigns with Saints.

Litchfield has already beaten those tallies so far this term, impressing on both sides of the ball in his 12 appearances in all competitions so far, while also scoring the match-winning try at Gloucester Rugby back in December.

“Litch has worked very hard and continues to get better and better, becoming more and more his own person on the pitch,” said Saints’ Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson.

“When we’ve had some injuries this season, he’s played some games out of position, but he has learned an awful lot from that and from getting more game-time, stacking up a lot of minutes across both the Premiership and Champions Cup competitions.

“In our last match against Newcastle, we saw just how effective he can be in his preferred position [centre] at getting us going forward, with great distribution skills which he’s always working on.

“Within our environment, he’s someone that quietly and determinedly keeps on improving, and during matches he’ll get through a lot of unseen work that people might not notice, while also making a lot of breaks and offloads which are clearer to see.

“Tom’s obviously in a very competitive positional group, with Fraser Dingwall, Rory Hutchinson, Burger Odendaal and now Tommy Freeman in that space as well. But he’s putting his hand up to play amongst some of the very best players in the country, also going for that shirt. He will learn a lot from them, but whenever he plays in Black, Green and Gold, he shows what he’s capable of.”

The centre was an ever-present for Northampton’s Under-18s during the 2019/20 season, having developed within the Samuel Whitbread Academy system and played junior rugby for Bedford Blues.

Litchfield featured for Saints in the 2019 Premiership Rugby 7s tournament at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens, and has also spent time on loan with hometown club Bedford Blues during the 2020/21, 2021/22, and 2022/23 seasons as part of Saints’ strategic partnership with their Championship neighbours.

Internationally, Litchfield represented England Under-20s in both the 2021 and 2022 Six Nations, while also appearing in the 2022 Summer Series.

“This is a really exciting group to be a part of at the moment,” said the 21-year-old. “Not only do Saints have a huge opportunity to do well this season, and hopefully challenge for some silverware, but we’re building something really special for the years to come too.

“There’s great competition at centre here in Northampton, and that pushes us all to be better. When you see the likes of Fraser Dingwall and Rory Hutchinson getting called up into Six Nations squads around you, it pushes you forwards.

“I get to try to keep up with those guys day in, day out and learn from what they’re doing. I’ve also been working closely with Lee Radford on my defence this season, that’s been a big work on for me, and you’re hopefully starting to see the benefits of that on the field.

“I’ve been lucky to play a lot of my early rugby in the Championship and I’ve enjoyed playing for Bedford for the last few seasons through the partnership Saints have there. Getting game-time in the Championship was a big factor in getting to grips with the physical nature of senior rugby and getting to play where I grew up has been a really nice link to have. It’s definitely been a big part of pushing me forwards as a player and getting a few more games for Saints under my belt this season.

“I love being a part of this Club, the environment at Saints is a great one. In my opinion, there’s no better place to be in the Premiership right now, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.”

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