Scrum-half James feels so fortunate to be at Saints
It’s fair to say that Tom James is taking his Saints opportunities with both hands right now.
The scrum-half has made a hugely impressive start to life at Franklin’s Gardens.
So much so, that with Alex Mitchell away with England, he is now the No.1 choice at No.9.
That was reinforced last Sunday as James grabbed two tries during an incredible start to the game against Bath.
The 27-year-old, who switched to Saints from Championship outfit Doncaster Knights last summer, showed his finishing abilities in fantastic fashion.
His second score, picking up from a Taqele Naiyaravoro offload, displayed awareness and speed.
But his first was the more eye-catching as he charged for the line and, despite the best efforts of a couple of Bath players, managed to spin and ground the ball.
It wasn’t the first try James had scored for Saints as he also delivered a score during an impressive display against Leinster in Dublin in December.
That was only James’ second start in the black, green and gold, with his third coming last weekend.
And he is loving being given the chance to shine for Saints.
“I’m enjoying any opportunity I get,” James said.
“I feel very lucky and privileged to be playing at this level and I’m just trying learn as much as I can, enjoy my rugby as much as I can and improve as much as I can.
“It makes it much easier when you’ve got good players around you and I’ve got George Furbank, Piers Francis and Rory Hutchinson outside me.
“They’re all international players and it makes it much easier for me.”
It’s still early days, but James looks like he could be a real competitor for Mitchell.
Henry Taylor, who had a tougher experience last Sunday, and Connor Tupai will also hope to stake their claim for starts.
But it looks likely to be James who gets the job again against a confident Harlequins team at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.
“They are one of the form teams and both teams are driving for the top four,” James said.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves and worry about what we’re doing.
“When we move the ball really well we cause other teams a lot of problems.
“We’ve just got to keep that discipline under control and it will all come together.”
The only disappointing thing about last weekend for James was that Saints couldn’t secure the win that looked certain of when they flew into a 19-3 lead.
He said: “We were pretty happy with that first 30 minutes and then let ourselves down in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
“In the second half, we just weren’t clinical enough and our discipline let us down so they came back into it.
“I’m not sure what went wrong but we were probably not as disciplined as we could have been and we didn’t exit from our own end of the field as well as we could.
“They’re a good side with some good players and if you let them into the game with some field position and penalties then they’re going to cause you problems.
“We spoke at half-time that the next five or 10 minutes were so important and we didn’t do ourselves justice.
“We weren’t playing like we were in that first 20 minutes when we were moving the ball and causing them lots of problems.”