Saints chairman Hewitt happy with ‘brilliant season’

Saints chairman Tony Hewitt believes the club can be very proud of what he labels ‘a brilliant season’.
Tony Hewitt (picture: Sharon Lucey)Tony Hewitt (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Tony Hewitt (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Hewitt admits it was disappointing that the campaign didn’t yield any silverware, but believes topping the Aviva Premiership table for the first time should be a source of immense pride.

Saints ended the season at the summit, before losing to Saracens in the play-off semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens.

They also reached the semi-finals of the LV= Cup and the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, winning 23 of their 35 matches in all competitions.

“I think we’ve had a brilliant season,” Hewitt said. “To finish top for the first time in our history is obviously the main achievement.

“While you don’t get any sort of cup or pennant for ending up at the top of the league, it does reflect what’s happened during 22 league games.

“I think it’s been a fantastic achievement by the side, particularly as the defending champions.

“Everyone regards a game against the champions as a cup final so it becomes more difficult.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t win any of the titles. Our Under-18s got to the final of their championship and were beaten by Saracens.

“We were knocked out by Saracens in the LV= Cup and Premiership semi-finals and knocked out by Clermont in the quarter-final stages of the European Cup.

“That was a bit disappointing but we got there, so that shouldn’t cloud looking back at the season.

“We’re delighted to be in the play-offs for the sixth successive season, be top of the pile and to have the number of representative honours we’ve got in the players.”

Jim Mallinder signed a new deal at the end of last season and has now been in charge of Saints for eight years.

And Hewitt is delighted with the job he is doing.

He said: “We were great believers in building a base to continue the success of the club and that’s why after winning the championship last year for the first time we gave Jim a new five-year contract.

“It’s part of our faith in Jim to continue with the building of the squad.

“We’ve got some exciting new players coming next year so we continue with this development of Northampton Saints.”