Ethan Waller penned a full contract at Saints earlier this week – following in the footsteps of brother Alex.
Prop Alex is now an established member of the Northampton first-team squad and Ethan is desperate to emulate his sibling.
In the latest of our Chron Q&As with Saints’ rising stars we chat to the 20-year-old Kettering-born forward and discover his delight at signing a new deal at his hometown club.
So Ethan you’ve signed a new deal at the Saints, you must be obviously pretty pleased with that? “Yes I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this club for the next two years and it means I can push on in my development and start nipping at the heels of the props ahead of me.”
One of those ahead of you is obviously your brother Alex...
“Yes, there’s always some rivalry between me and him and this is going to make it even bigger and I’m sure there’ll be a few more nibbles from him now in training.”
Having seen the likes of Tom Stephenson and James Craig sign on, did you think this would be your chance? “It actually came as a big surprise to me. I received a phone call a few weeks ago and I wasn’t expecting it, I thought I may get another academy contract and keep pushing on.
“It definitely came as a big shock but I like to think I’ve justified it with the way I’ve been playing recently and now I can’t wait to get started.”
How nice is it, as a young player, to have such faith shown in you by the coaches which is evident in them handing you a full contract rather than another academy one?
“It feels really good. It’s a big confidence booster because there are times that you wonder if you’ll ever get your chance because the first team players are playing so well.
“But it really fills you with confidence when you get something like this and with the LV Cup coming up I like to think I can give myself a chance there if I get the opportunity.
You talk about the LV Cup because it’s a very good chance for the young players to play in this sort of environment, It can’t get much better than that can it?
“No, exactly. It’ll be my first taste of senior rugby as it were with the Saints and if that chance comes I’ll take it with both hands and make a really good account of myself and show that I can play at this level and push on from there.
How proud are your family of you at the moment with both you and your brother establishing yourselves at the Gardens?
“Well when I told my mum she screamed whereas my dad did the more manly thing with a pat on the shoulder, but yes they’re really proud of both of us here.
“It’s one of the perks of being at your home town club, there are a lot of people around here who give good feedback and people who send messages when they find things out and it’s nice to obviously play for the club you watched as a boy.”
Are you from a rugby background?
“No. Actually my dad is one of the most unsporting people you’ll ever meet. He’s much more of a musician kind of person.
“I wasn’t particularly sporty, my brother was, whereas I was more of an academic. Then I found rugby at a young age and loved it, playing at Wellingborough town and I’ve pushed on from there and tried my best in every game I’ve played and it’s paid off.
Did the fact that your brother played rugby sort of push you into it a little bit?
“Well he (Alex) used to play basketball more than rugby but I started to play rugby because I had a rugby player build. I was put straight into the front row and since then I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I still sometimes like to think I’m a back but I know my rightful position is in the front row.”
You mentioned your mum screamed and your dad gave you a pat on the back, what did your brother do? Beat you up maybe? “No, he’s not that bad. He was really good about it and said a big congratulations and that I’ve worked hard for it. But we’ll have to see what he says If I start pushing at his heels.”
How does it work when you’re sitting around the dinner table? Does he offer you much advice?
“I like to think that it’s fairly even. I like to think I help him as much as he helps me but that’s probably not true.
“We’re always talking about rugby and watching videos of our performances and chatting with each other whether it’s about scrums or just around the park so it’s been really good having him here and a big help as well.”