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Saints legend hopes team will help him retire on a high

Franklin's Gardens Photo: ITV News Anglia
David 'Piggy' Powell Credit: ITV News Anglia

David 'Piggy' Powell has been at Northampton Saints for half a century - a former player, former coach and since the late 80s, groundsman.

His association is such that the stadium, known as Franklin's Gardens to most, has the unofficial name of Piggy's patch. But now he's preparing to retire at the end of the season.

Saints pitch used to be bog like Credit: ITV News Anglia

In the sixties and seventies Piggy made 370 first team appearances for Northampton.

He also won 11 England caps and a place in the '66 Lions tour.

As groundsman he has a national reputation for his expertise on grass pitches and Franklin's Gardens recognized as one of the best in rugby union.

But it wasn't always that way.

All this area in front of the old stand was literally bare, if it was wet, a bog, a pretty poor pitch, but we in those days were pretty happy to play on that sort of pitch, we were fairly agricultural in our way, we played the Harlequins, some of the old city flash boys, gave them a good going over in that mud.

– David 'Piggy' Powell
Dorian West Credit: ITV News Anglia

The contribution he makes to the club doesn't go unnoticed at the top.

The foundations of any environment are the most important things, the day to day running of the club, the organisation, the bits and bobs you don't see and hear about that help us coaches and players be the best we can be are crucial… you've got to be grateful to the staff you've got working in and around the place that people don't know.

– Dorian West, Northampton Saints Coach
Piggy on his mower Credit: ITV News Anglia

This season that success is being felt all around the club - Northampton finishing top of the league, securing a home tie against Saracens in tomorrow's semi-final play-off, Piggy hopes his team will help him retire on a high.