Collins a massive plus for Saints, says Dickens

IMPRESSING - Tom Collins (Picture: Linda Dawson)

IMPRESSING - Tom Collins (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Saints coach Alan Dickens says Tom Collins’ rapid rise to prominence has been a ‘massive positive’.

Senior Academy talent Collins was in fine form last weekend, coming into the team at the last minute and shining in an 18-9 success against Leinster in Dublin.

His ability to handle the big stage was hugely impressive and was the culmination of a stellar few months with the Saints first team.

The 19-year-old wing enjoyed a good pre-season in which he made a name for himself in the sevens tournaments before going on to stake his claim for a starting spot in the 15-man game.

With George North away on Wales duty, Collins came into the side and scored his first Saints try in the win at Worcester last month.

That provided a platform for events at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday, and Dickens couldn’t be more impressed with the former Northampton School for Boys pupil.

“Tom Collins has been a massive positive the last few weeks and months,” said the assistant coach. “Since George went away with Wales, he’s had his opportunity.

“We’ve got a young English player who has come in and taken his chance and performed on the domestic and European stage.

“One of the most pleasing things this year has been the players who have stepped up and taken their chance.”

Collins will get another crack at the big time on Saturday as he again lines up on the wing for Saints.

He will set his sights on shooting down Wasps, but Dickens has warned that will be no easy task for the Premiership’s second-placed side.

“Wasps will be difficult,” said Dickens. “In terms of away rugby last year when we beat them it was one of the first games they’d lost at home.

“They’ve put in some good performances already this season and they beat Leicester at home a few weeks ago so it will be a tough game.”