Success story Graham has shown the way for Saints' latest signings

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While Saints' trio of recent signings may not have included any star names, recent recruitment has showed that they can be no less effective.

After all, the black, green and gold have made a habit of developing players over recent years, unearthing men who would go on to become gems.

Sam Graham is a prime example, having been plucked from Championship side Doncaster Knights, where he excelled as captain.

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Graham is now a first-team regular at Saints and started in the 82,300 sell-out at Croke Park last Saturday as Saints took on Leinster in the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals.

Sam Graham (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Sam Graham (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Sam Graham (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

So he has certainly shown the way for a fellow back row forward who will arrive from his former club this summer.

Fyn Brown, a former Wasps man, was one of the three signings Saints announced last week, along with Luctonians flanker Archie Benson and San Diego Legion prop Luke Green.

And though Graham has yet to meet Brown, he has already heard good things about him.

"He joined just as I left," Graham said.

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"By all accounts he has played a lot of rugby for Donny, the boys up there rate him highly.

"It’s great that another guy who has come through Donny is coming our way. That’s three of us now with me, TJ (Tom James) and him.

"It will be good to welcome him down here and I am sure he will fit right in."

Brown, who is 21 years old, will have learned the hard way in a hugely competitive Championship.

And Graham knows all about that.

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He added: "The Championship is the perfect place to develop homegrown players.

"There’s a lot of talent out there and it often goes under the radar.

"Someone like Fyn, next year he will come in and hit the ground running."

Graham is now very much up and running at Saints, taking his game to new heights this season.

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He has become a key figure in a back row that included Courtney Lawes and Juarno Augustus last weekend.

And he admits he took some time to process how special it was to be involved in such a huge occasion at Croke Park.

"To be honest, I am pretty blown away," Graham said. "It is one of those things you cannot actually take in at the time.

"It probably wasn’t until I actually sat down with my fiancé, who was out there, on Sunday. She had taped some videos of us running out and the crowd throughout the game, you don’t actually get to take it in when you’re there.

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"It almost seemed like two different events looking back at it.

"It was pretty special but I think as a group we need to move on pretty quick, it will be one at the end of the season that I will reflect on and it will be pretty special time in my career."

Graham has racked up 24 appearances this season, starting in 19 of them as he has helped Saints to the top of the Gallagher Premiership table with two matches to go.

And he said: "I am really enjoying myself.

"Obviously this is the end of the season that everyone wants to be playing in. So it is very competitive every week.

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"I would’ve liked to have got my hands on the ball a little bit more, but that was probably the nature of the game that it didn’t quite come my way.

"For me it is about relaxing into our system and what we are trying to do, and the ball will come my way, rather than going looking for it because that is when we are not trusting the guys around us.

"I think I am in the right place, I just need to keep pulling my weight and hopefully keep getting the shirt.

"That way, semi-finals, finals, let’s see what happens."

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