Darbon hails Horne's 'stand-out' contribution to Saints

Rob Horne was Saints' top scorer last season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Rob Horne was Saints' top scorer last season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Rob Horne has been hailed for the ‘huge impact’ he had on Saints during his seven-month spell as a player at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Australian centre, who moved to Northampton from the Waratahs last summer, was forced to retire after suffering full paralysis of his right arm during a clash with Sione Kalamafoni inside the first minute of Saints’ win at Leicester Tigers on April 14.

And it has been decided Saints will switch this season’s home clash with Tigers, which will take place on October 6 (kick-off 3pm), to Twickenham to raise funds for Horne.

The 28-year-old, who recently opted to move back to Australia with his family, will deliver the match ball and attend the game.

And Saints are delighted to be able to provide help for Horne, with the club donating £5 per season ticket holder, and supporters able to make a contribution to the cause when they purchase their tickets.

“It’s hard to comprehend in some ways that Rob only made 21 appearances for Saints because he had a huge impact on the squad and on the club,” said Saints CEO Mark Darbon.

“He was obviously one of our stand-out performers on the pitch and he was a big leader around the place.

“He will be and is being missed as part of our squad and that is why there is such a desire to do something like this for Rob to help provide some ongoing financial support for Rob and give as much help as we can to him.”

Horne was a star man for Saints last season, scoring eight tries in 21 appearances as he picked up the supporters’ and players’ player of the year awards.

But the coaching staff, led by new boss Chris Boyd, are hopeful that they can ensure his absence isn’t felt too keenly.

Darbon said: “Our supporters will have seen how active we've been in the recruitment market over the last few months.

"We're continuing to invest heavily in the squad, with the likes of Dan Biggar, Taqele Naiyaravoro and James Haskell coming to join us, and many others, too.

"Of course the fact we were planning on Rob being around and the fact he will no longer be around means the coaches have had to adjust their thinking a little bit and that definitely influenced some of the recruitment decisions we made towards the back end of the window.

"But we're really excited about the squad.

"Would we rather Rob was here and in the squad? Of course we would because he's a world class player and he had a massive impact here.

"But we're feeling good about the group of players we've got and we're excited for the start of the new season."