Saints parents 'hoping for fairy tale ending'

Arron with light-coloured hair and beard standing next to Lewis with dark hair and beard at a rugby stadium
Arron Ludlam (right) is hoping for a fairy tale ending when his son Lewis (left) makes his final appearance for the Saints [Arron Ludlam]

The parents of Northampton Saints players said they were hoping for a "fairy tale ending" in Saturday's premiership final at Twickenham.

The team faces Bath as it tries to repeat its trophy-winning performance against Saracens in 2014.

The players' families know each other well and "share the joy and pain, week in, week out".

The game will be particularly emotional for relatives of players who will be making their last appearance for the Saints.

Sue and Val, both with long blond hair, smiling
Sue Waller (left), mother of Alex and Ethan, and Val Lawes, mother of Courtney, face an emotional day on Saturday [BBC/Robert Constantin]

Val Lawes has been at her son Courtney's side during his journey from school pitches to international rugby.

She said: "You enjoy every step, you never know where it's going to lead, we never had any idea of what it would take to get there.

"We just turned up with his boots and hopefully his gum shield and just got on with it."

Courtney Lawes with dark hair and beard waving during a Saints game
Courtney Lawes will be bidding farewell to the Saints after Saturday's final [PA Media]

Ms Lawes said she had "enjoyed the social side of it, standing at the side of the pitch and chatting to other mums and travelling around the country - it was brilliant".

As she prepared to watch her son in his last Saints game, she said she was "very excited".

"I'm not nervous, I feel quite confident, I think the guys can do this."

Alex Waller with short dark hair during a Saints game
Alex Waller will be retiring after Saturday's game [PA Media]

Sue Waller has seen both of her sons grow up to be Saints players, and both Alex and Ethan have announced they will retire after Saturday's final.

She said: "Initially when Alex first started playing, they sat us a long way from the pitch so we wouldn't go on and say, 'What are you doing to my child?'"

Ms Waller has become something of a celebrity herself. "I have once or twice been asked, 'Oh, can I have a photo of you?' and I'm like, 'Why? I don't play rugby or anything.'"

Lewis Ludlam with dark hair and beard during a Saints game
Lewis Ludlam is preparing for his last game as a Saints player [PA Media]

Arron Ludlam will also be watching his son Lewis walk out on to the pitch for the last time as a Saints player.

He said: "We're really hoping there's a fairy tale ending to it tomorrow. We're super-cautious about that, because sport can be cruel.

"We've stood there on the sidelines for a couple of semi-finals over the past couple of years and it's been heart-breaking, so we've got our fingers crossed."

He added that the players' parents "tend to be seated together, we're all very, very close and we all share that joy and pain, week in, week out".

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