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Springbok Rugby World Cup winner Cobus Reinach pledged to return to English Premiership Rugby side Northampton Saints for a proper farewell after the COVID-19 pandemic cut short his final season at the club.
Reinach will leave Northampton at the end of this season and join French Top14 side Montpellier. However, his dream of playing for the club a little longer with a fairy tale ending were cut short by the prevailing situation.
Premiership Rugby CEO Darren Childs said stakeholders were targeting a potential return on August 15 while Reinach will join his new club at the start of July.
“It’s definitely not the way we wanted things to go but that just means we need to come back to do a little farewell,” Reinach said.
“It’s actually quite exciting to plan a trip back to the (Franklin) Gardens, watch a game, support like everyone else and then I can have a little bit of time with the boys again.”
The scrum-half said that winning the 2019 Premiership Rugby Cup title, the fans’ support and learning about other players’ cultures are the standout memories of his time at Franklin Gardens.
“The fans of Northampton are the heart of the club, the heart of the place. They’ve carried the team and even when you don’t get the results, they have your back, so they are amazing,” the 30-year-old said.
“Coming here you play with Islanders, players from the Wales and Scotland squads, players from Australia and New Zealand and there’s a lot of cultures combined. That makes you grow as a player and as a person.”
He added that joining Northampton developed him so much and his family loved their stay there so much that leaving was not an easy decision.
“Saints have always been really good to us, looked after us and I’ve tried to repay everyone at the Club with the way I’ve played.”
Reinach, a big fan favourite, joined the Saints from South African Super Rugby club the Sharks in 2017. He scored 31 tries in 76 appearances and won the Club’s Players’ and Supporters’ Player of the Year awards last season.
Since joining Northampton in 2017/18, Reinach has scored more tries (21), beaten more defenders (98) and made more breaks (55) and metres (1807) than any other scrum-half in the Premiership, according to statistics by OptaJonny.
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