Saints centre Dingwall upbeat ahead of arrival of All Blacks ace

Hurricanes star Matt Proctor will be playing for Saints this season
Hurricanes star Matt Proctor will be playing for Saints this season

Talented Saints centre Fraser Dingwall insists he is not fazed by the arrival of All Blacks star Matt Proctor.

And Dingwall is determined to see the presence of Proctor, who will join from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes, as a positive at Franklin’s Gardens this season.

Fraser Dingwall enjoyed a fine 2018/19 campaign at Franklin's Gardens

Fraser Dingwall enjoyed a fine 2018/19 campaign at Franklin's Gardens

The pair will be vying for a centre spot in a squad that appears to have plenty of depth in that area.

England ace Piers Francis, Scotland’s Rory Hutchinson and injury returnees Andy Symons and Harry Mallinder will also hope to get some game time in the 12 and 13 shirts.

And Dingwall, who captained the England U20s during the World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina earlier this summer, said: “I’m not in a place where I’m an out-and-out starter and I’ve not got any entitlement to a shirt.

“He (Proctor) is a big-name signing in the sense that he’s a quality player so all I can do is learn all I can from him as possible. Maybe I can play alongside him.

“There are lots of opportunities to get game time so I trust Boydy (Saints boss Chris Boyd) and the way he manages players and I know I will get chances.

“It’s about me being in the best position to take those opportunities.”

Dingwall enjoyed a fine 2018/19 campaign after making his full debut against Leicester Tigers at Twickenham last October.

The 20-year-old went on to make a total of 12 appearances, scoring four tries.

And he said: “This is another big year - one where I need to break through.

“I was really pleased with how I went last season and I felt I had broken through into the first team but then injury wiped me out and Hutch came in, did really well and took that space.

“Hutch has really kicked on and with Matt Proctor coming in as well, there’s a lot of competition in the centre, especially with Symo (Symons) coming back fit.

“So it is a big season and I’m try not to get too ahead of myself.

“With Matt Proctor coming in, Boydy has spoken to me and apparently he has a similar game to myself so he’s someone I can learn from in these next few years and pick up opportunities when they come.”

There should be plenty of minutes for most at Saints this season, especially because the schedule will be relentless until January.

The black, green and gold are back in the Champions Cup and will cram those fixtures in among big Premiership battles.

The season has become more compact due to the Rugby World Cup, which begins in Japan in September.

And Dingwall, who returned to training at Saints earlier this week, said: "It will be relentless so you can't field the same 23 every week and you've got to extend further.

"The season will be very much a squad effort - and that is all 45 guys.

"It's about being in the best place possible, supporting the team when you're not playing and performing when you are.

"You never know where you're going to be at the end of the year. You can do what I did and go from not playing and not being in the 23 to becoming a starter.

"There are a lot of ups and downs and it's about being prepared for whatever comes."