Grayson: Every Saints player has chance to stake claim for place at Kingsholm

Paul Grayson
Paul Grayson

PAUL GRAYSON says two games in two days this week will give every Saints player a chance to prove they deserve to start the season opener at Gloucester.

Northampton are expected to name a youthful side for the clash with Moseley at Franklin’s Gardens on Thursday ahead of the game against Edinburgh at Murrayfield a day later.

The Friday fixture is likely to see Saints name a team which should closely resemble the one which will take to the Kingsholm pitch in the Premiership curtain-raiser on September 1.

But assistant coach Grayson is not writing off the chances of the men who play against Moseley, and has urged every player to stake a claim ahead of the first competitive game.

“With two games in two days for the players it means everybody gets some meaningful game time and gets an opportunity to put their hand up,” he said.

“We’re less than two weeks away from Gloucester with plenty of work to do and a team to be picked for that game, which will be based on everybody’s work in pre-season and the two games this week.

“We want to hit the ground running and the win against Leinster last Saturday was a step towards that.”

The players, management and fans will be united in their delight when the Premiership finally kicks off a week on Saturday.

Grayson says it’s been a really tough pre-season at Saints, with hard work the name of the game, but he believes all the conditioning work will pay off in the coming campaign.

“There’s been a colossal amount of hard work,” he said. “Some of the lads have done 10 or 11 weeks of training and not had a massive break in the middle of it to get into the type of condition you need to contend, but we’re all rugby players when all’s said and done and that’s the bit you want to do.

“But you’ve got to go through the horrors of fitness and conditioning to prepare yourself to play the game, running the ball and knocking people over. That’s what excites the fans and that’s what excites the players and hopefully we can build some momentum into next week and beyond.”