Saints team-mates: James Wilson

James Wilson made his Saints debut in 2012 and his impressive versatility quickly became key for the club.

By Tom Vickers
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 4:14 pm
James Wilson
James Wilson

He went on to rack up 95 appearances in various back-line roles and was an important member of the double-winning squad of 2013/14.

Here, he gives us his comedic take on his Saints team-mates...

Who was the best player you played with?

Tom Stephenson

In a Saints shirt I've been lucky enough to play with legends of the game: Victor Matfield, Louis Picamoles, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, but none that had the complete skill-set like Samu Manoa. The guy's a freak with a rugby ball in hand, and I think I’m equally as lucky not to play against him.

Who was the toughest?

Dylan Hartley. I think he’s up there with the most stubborn as well, probably why he’s the toughest. Players like Dyls are a dying breed, a shame really.

Who was the most skillful?

Michael Paterson

Samu Manoa, as I mentioned, could do it all, GJ van Velze fancied himself off the tee, but not quite to the accuracy of Stevie Myler. Rory Hutchinson will probably take it. The dude has pace to beat a man, vision, can offload in a tackle and nudge a ball anywhere he wants, too. He would tell you I taught him everything he knows.

Who was the kitman's worst nightmare?

Has to be anyone in the front row - dirty, sweaty, torn up jerseys on the regular kept big Kev Buckby busy. A few of the lads I won’t mention would be in his office asking for a few freebie jerseys to get signed by the boys so they could auction off for beer money, or more appropriately, a deserved local charity around town.

Who was the best dancer?

Dylan Hartley

Michael Paterson was on fire one night at the Old House, but that was unfortunately a one-night-only thing. George Pisi could move when the knees were well oiled, but Tom, or rather ’Simon’, Stephenson could work a dance floor like no other.

Who was the worst dresser?

Paul Hill. Odd, very odd, including his choices of daily attire. I don’t think matching is Paul's thing. Jamie Gibson - when you see him in the wild he’s wearing a polo shirt collar up, chino shorts and a nasty pair of boat shoes from 2013. Gareth Denman - you know who Gaz is playing rugby for that season, as he wears the team kit around 24/7.

Who was the biggest drinker?

Many talked a big game, few followed through. Nafi Tuitavake enjoyed a few Coronas followed by a couple of WKDs at NB’s. Tom ‘Simon’ Stephenson would be right beside him. Kieran Brookes could put a Carlsberg or two away as well… apparently, from what I was told.

Who had the worst chat?

Sam Olver. As if it wasn’t bad enough already, he would somehow manage to spit on you while trying to get out whatever nonsense he was trying to say.

Who was Mr Vain?

Toss up. My boys Benjamin Foden and Luther Burrell. The lads loved looking sharp, and I completely approve of this behaviour. A trip to the local Starbucks or an evening in London, had to be on point. Some of Ben’s past choices of attire were questionable though, but an A+ for effort.

Who had the best hairstyle?

Not Tom Collins or 2014 Teimana Harrison, sorry my bro, mean for back home in NZ though. Ben Foden takes this one. He has great hair, everyone else is either losing their lid, or bald already. I think Sam Dickinson has been bald since birth.

Who was the grumpiest?

Can I mention management? Well, I will. Dorian West. I think he was happiest grumpy if that makes sense. Rarely saw him smile, I think the only time he cracked one was when the forwards would maul over for a try.

Who was the best singer?

Ben Foden, from a distance. Given half a chance and that man will sing whatever you want to hear, as long as it's All of Me, by John Legend. I can still hear it, he has sung it that much over the years.

Who was the leader?

Dylan Hartley. On and off the field, he would lead the boys into battle. We would go into a game believing no opposition was better than us with him at the helm. He would be the first to lead the lads into helping the community of Northampton when given the opportunity as well.

Who was the coach's favourite?

Harold Mallinder obviously, his old man was the coach. Jokes aside, Lee Dickson would worm his way into the coaches office a lot, I’m sure he laughed at their jokes when they weren’t funny. Coaches loved Samu Manoa, rightly so. Alex Waller was probably the fave, how many games did he play in a row again? Legend.

I could go on and on, also about many of the lads I haven’t mentioned. All legends I’ve made memories with that will last a lifetime. Cheers lads xo

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