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Saints start 2016 with a win over the Chiefs

Saints star Mark Haywood who scored the only try in the win over Exeter on New Year's Day Credit: Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints got 2016 off to the perfect start this afternoon beating Premiership title rivals Exeter Chiefs 8-3 in front of a record crowd at Franklin's Gardens.

Saints Hooker Mark Haywood got the only try of game in the first half. As the rain poured down the home side held firm and although Exeter scored a penalty with seven minutes to go, Northampton always looked like claiming a well deserved victory.

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Northampton forward to take year-long sabbatical

Corbisiero has announced he's going to take a break from rugby Credit: PA.

Northampton Saints forward Alex Corbisiero has announced he is going to take a break from rugby at the end of the season.

The England prop has suffered a series of injuries in recent years and missed the World Cup this autumn with a back problem.

Corbisiero's contract at Franklin's Gardens expires in the summer and he says that instead of looking for a new club, he will take a year-long sabbatical instead.

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Northampton Saints coach Mallinder linked to vacant England job

Jim Mallinder currently heads up the Northampton Saints.

The Northampton Saints' coach who has been heavily linked to take rugby's top job has refused to comment after bookies placed 6/1 odds on him replacing Stuart Lancaster.

Jim Mallinder would not speculate on the rumours when ITV Anglia approached him at a press conference today.

It comes after Stuart Lancaster stood down after England's disappointing World Cup performance.

Other people linked to the job are Wales boss Warren Gatland, Australia's Michael Cheika, and Ireland's Joe Schmidt and Japan coach Eddie Jones whose side surprised many at the recent world cup.

Saints' England player Kieran Brookes spoke to us about the speculation.

Timelapse video shows construction of Northampton Saints' new stand

This timelapse video shows the construction of Northampton Saints' new stand.

The camera was installed by ITV News Anglia, and shows the old stand being demolished and the new one being put up.

The Barwell Stand will be opened for the first time tomorrow when the Saints take on Saracens.

Click below to watch the video

Northampton Saints unveil new stand ahead of Saracens showdown

The new Barwell stand (far end). Credit: ITV News Anglia

Northampton Saints have been showing off their new stand today.

The Barwell Stand was officially unveiled earlier, six months after work begun. It will be used for the first time when the Saints host Premiership champions Saracens on Saturday.

The club's iconic war memorial has also been moved so that it can overlook the pitch and relatives of former players who lost their lives were invited to a special ceremony.

Click below to hear from Northampton Saints chairman Tony Hewitt

"I think we took a lot of care in planning the stadium to make sure we preserved the memorial.

I think what we've done is enhanced its position in the stand overlooking the pitch and it will be really in the forefront of our minds on Saturday when we do the traditional wreath-laying ceremony here at Franklin's Gardens before the Saracens game."

– Tony Hewitt, Northampton Saints chairman
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