Northampton sign legend’s son to add a ‘massive physical presence’


Northampton have confirmed the eight players who will join the club's senior academy in the 2024/25 season, a list that includes the son of the Saints legend.

Former Tonga international Suani Tongawiha spent seven seasons at Franklin Gardens, where the giant combined his strength with a reputation for carrying the ball with power and movement.

After moving to England to join Bedford, he joined Northampton in 2006 and made nearly 200 appearances for the club before leaving in 2013 to play for Racing, Oyonnax, Bristol and Ampthill.

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He returned to Franklin last Saturday to perform on the pitch in the Gloucester match for his son Sonny after the ambitious prop signed for the club's senior academy after starting out with the Under-18 Premiership Academy in the final match earlier this year versus Bath at Kingsholm.

Sonny joined the club's academy at U14 level and has participated in a number of camps in England over the past two seasons.

The statement read: “Aiden Ainsworth-Cave, Tom Day, Lewis Haley, Billy Pascoe, Uli Scola, Sonny Tungawiha, Jonny Wyman and Ravi Withitt will all join in the summer after signing their first professional contracts.

“All eight players have impressed for Saints' U18 squad this season, as Northampton reached their third consecutive Rugby Academy Premier League final.

“Meanwhile, Ainsworth-Cave, Weimann, Dye and Witheat also represented England at Under-18 level during this year's Six Nations Festival.”

Academy coach Charlie Reid said: “Sonny is a tremendous physical presence on the pitch, but he is also someone who has worked extremely hard off the pitch to get in the best possible physical condition to go and play.

“Sony is a great long-term project for us, and someone who has real potential going forward.

“We believe the senior players signed through the academy have what it takes to eventually play at the highest level, but for now they have to focus on adapting to training every day.

“They all have a great attitude and support each other – I have no doubt they will push each other to improve next season and beyond.”

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