Short-term memory so key for Saints scrum-half James

Tom James (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Tom James (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Tom James (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
'The best players have a very short-term memory when it comes to mistakes'.

Those are the words of Tom James, who has shown his ability to recover from setbacks in real style this season.

He has had a suspension, an injury and, last Friday, a charge-down in a big game to deal with during the campaign, but he has treated each imposter just the same.

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Rather than dwelling on the issues, James has overcome them.

And he gave a glowing example of his resilience last Friday as he bounced back from seeing Saracens forward Theo McFarland get his hands on a clearance and gather to score.

James refused to let that moment bother him, going on to produce a superb performance for almost the entire game as Saints saw off champions Saracens 41-30.

The scrum-half set the tone for his team, especially when he took a quick tap penalty that had Saracens scrambling and allowed Saints to grab a key score.

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James built real momentum in that match, and he wants to continue that when Munster come calling for a massive Investec Champions Cup last-16 clash on Sunday.

"I have really enjoyed this season," James said.

"There has been times that I have been able to put a few starts in a row.

"You always want to do that as a player and I always enjoy any opportunity to get on the pitch.

"But I think if you get that bit more game time and more starts, you do feel much more a part of the team, especially given how well we have gone this year.

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"I am really enjoying being a part of Northampton Saints at the moment."

On overcoming the concession of that McFarland try, James said: "You never want something like that to happen but there is no point dwelling on it.

"Some of the best players have a very short-term memory when it comes to mistakes.

"There was so long left in the game, you just have to put it behind you and make sure your next action is as positive as it can be."

James certainly did that.

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And he has been doing that since being banned for an unusual flare-up with Toulon No.9 Ben White at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens in December.

James was suspended for three weeks after he was alleged to have struck White with his head in the 70th minute of the Champions Cup clash, which Saints went on to win in dramatic fashion.

"First and last time I am sure that I have been banned," James said. "It was really strange, incredibly frustrating, given it was at a time when we were on that winning streak.

"It was really difficult to watch from the sidelines.

"It is part of rugby, you deal with the setbacks, not everything is going to go your way so it is about how you deal with it and how you bounce back."

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James has got better and better each season since joining Saints from Doncaster Knights in the summer of 2020.

"I was fairly late to Premiership rugby I didn’t have that access to it until I was about 25 years old, so my trajectory is a little bit later than others," said the 30-year-old.

"I still feel like I am improving and I hope that has shown in my performances."

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