Saints star Clark discusses his Leicester learning curve

MATURING - Calum Clark feels he has learned a lot during the last 14 months (picture by Linda Dawson)
MATURING - Calum Clark feels he has learned a lot during the last 14 months (picture by Linda Dawson)

Saints star Calum Clark says he has learned a lot since the incident which blighted his last final appearance against Leicester Tigers.

The flanker was slapped with a 32-week ban after being found guilty of hyper-extending the arm of Tigers hooker Rob Hawkins in the LV= Cup showpiece at Sixways last March.

He returned to action in a clash with Leicester in November and showed real maturity in the heat of the Welford Road battle.

Clark has since gone on to impress on and off the pitch and has been rewarded with a call-up to the England squad for this summer’s tour of South America.

And with another game against Tigers on the agenda this weekend, the 23-year-old took time to reflect on his development since that infamous incident last year.

“It was a very different time for me,” he said. “It happened I don’t know how long ago, but I’ve learnt a lot.

“I’ve been forced to address a lot of things and I’m glad that period is behind me. I’m just looking forward rather than back.

“I think I’ve still got a lot to improve as a player. I haven’t played a lot this year, with injury and starting the season late.

“I feel like I need to put in some good performances to justify being in this team and being selected for the summer. I need to play rugby, I need to get back to playing well.”

Clark has spent the week leading up to the Premiership final balancing training with studying for his last University exam, which took place on Thursday.

Consequently, he has kept away from much of the Twickenham build-up and is happy to keep his emotions in check while letting the fans and media get excited about the big game.

“As much as you’re not going to want to hear it, you can forget all that (hype) when you’re on the field,” he said.

“It’s about winning a game of rugby. It’s great for the fans and the media to talk about all that sort of stuff but we try to leave it to them.

“I had my last ever Uni exam on Thursday so I haven’t really been out around town. I’ve locked myself up so I wouldn’t know if it was going on or not.”