The big interview: James Ramm talks to Tom Vickers about recovering from injury and Saints' run-in

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If you'd said last season that during this campaign Saints would go on a 10-game winning streak, you'd have imagined James Ramm being at the forefront of it.

So good was the Australian wing in his first season at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens, his team-mates voted him their players' player of the year.

And he was agonisingly close to winning the supporters' accolade, too, only being edged out by the incredibly consistent Fraser Dingwall.

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Ramm did scoop the breakthrough player of the season award to add to his players' player prize, though, capping a sensational campaign with some richly-deserved accolades.

James Ramm (photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)James Ramm (photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
James Ramm (photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

But the 2023/24 season has so far been much tougher for the extremely talented 25-year-old as he suffered a knee injury in the win against Harlequins back in November.

Those 38 minutes he played in that match are the only minutes he played during the 10-match winning run that started that night at the Gardens.

And that can only bode well for Saints, especially with Ramm having returned from his MCL injury against Sale Sharks last Friday.

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To have a player of his quality to add to a group that has enjoyed such success of late is such a luxurious position to be in.

And Ramm is not the only player who has recently returned, as he has been working hard alongside fellow wings George Hendy and Tom Seabrook to get back.

Saints lost all three players in such a short space of time, but they have coped admirably.

And now Ramm, who signed a new contract at the Gardens last month, can't wait to go from watching the team's success to playing his part in it.

"The team is doing so well,” Ramm said, smiling broadly.

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“It's unbelievable and I've absolutely loved how they're going.

“One part of you is like 'I really want to be out there', that's quite natural, and the other part is 'I'm so happy to be part of this team that's doing so well'.

“The work we've all put in during pre-season, they've deserved their performances.

“We're sitting in a pretty good spot and it's now about keeping it going after the break.

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“Saints are very good in making sure it's the whole squad being celebrated.

“Dows (Saints boss Phil Dowson) says it a lot that we get these performances at the weekend from the training during the week and specifically the boys that are not picked. They bring that training level we need.

“He says it's cliched, but it's a squad effort and he puts a massive emphasis on those boys who aren't being picked and saying 'this is why we're doing well'.”

When Ramm sustained his injury and was later seen on crutches, supporters would have feared that he would be out for the rest of the season.

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And he counts himself extremely fortunate that hasn't proved to be the case.

“This is probably my first long-term injury,” Ramm said.

“Thankfully you can have much worse so I'm counting my lucky stars.

“It's the first time I've had to sit out for this long and it not be a season-endinginjury.

“One of the main reasons I came over here is because the season is so long. If you get an injury like this in Australia, that's completely done, your season is sort of 13 weeks long.

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“Here, I've been out for 12 weeks and still managed to get five or six games in, which is incredible.

“I timed it perfectly and the break's been really good.

“There's a couple of us boys who have been injured so we've been using the time to get back into training.”

Ramm had surgery to rectify the knee problem and has since been working hard to return as soon as possible.

“I got a nice little scar,” he said, pointing to the affected knee.

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“Going into the scan was a bit scary but they came out and said everything is fine except your MCL.

“They don't normally operate on it if there's a little bit intact, but it was completely gone so the surgeon said let's get in there.

“It was off the bone, I believe so he said they'd get in there to fix it up.

“It was a very successful surgery so he wasn't worried at all.

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“He was very happy with his work when we went back and saw him, which is always positive!”

A typically upbeat character, Ramm has taken the injury hurdle in his stride.

And he has praised Saints for how they have made the recovery process so enjoyable.

“It's been really good,” Ramm said.

“The physios have been amazing and the strength and conditioning guys kept it fun, which is really hard for long-term rehab.

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“We actually went down to one of the gymnastics centres in Northampton as part of the rehab.

“They got me bouncing around, jumping over obstacles just to get my mind off my knee.

“It gives you a lot of confidence because if you can flip through the air at the gymnastics centre then going up for a high ball isn't too bad.

“It's been really fun but rehab is always a bit of a grind.”

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A talented gymnast in his youth, Ramm loved re-living former glories.

“I was like an excited kid in there (the gymnastics centre) for sure,” he said.

“We got some good videos of it.”

Ramm's rehab has clearly been helped by the fact he hasn't been alone.

Hendy and Seabrook also suffered long-term injuries towards the end of 2023.

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“We've been spending too much time together!” Ramm said, laughing.

“It's made it a lot easier to have them doing everything with you.

“You're not running on your own, you're not in the gym on your own when everyone else is out training so it's been a massive help.

“It also keeps that competitive edge because you push each other in the gym, you push each other playing darts and everything you do is a bit of a challenge.

“It's probably made it a lot easier, to be honest.”

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With Saints getting a break from action during the Guinness Six Nations, their players were able to take a week away from the club.

Some used that to fly away and top up their tan, but Ramm said: “I don't even remember what a tan is, mate!

“We got a couple of days off over Christmas so we went to Norfolk, which was lovely. Cold and probably not the best time to go, but very quaint, nice, little villages, so I loved that.

“Most recently, we've been to Iceland.

“It gets your mind off stuff so it hasn't been a terrible rehab where I've been like 'I've got to get away from it'. They've made it really fun, which has been nice.”

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Ramm's contract was due to expire at the end of the season, but he has put pen to paper on an extension, which is welcomed by the player and by everyone at the club.

“It is really nice,” Ramm said.

“It's tough having your contract up after quite a long injury but my partner and I love it here and we wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

“The results are amazing, the best they've been for a while.

“The coaching staff have been amazing and I've learned so much.

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“I wouldn't want to be anywhere else and I'm really happy to be staying.”

Ramm may have signed a new deal at Saints, but he has no plans to upgrade his car.

He was pictured piling his awards into a Hyundai Matrix after the end-of-season dinner last year, but though he has received plenty of banter for his motor of choice, he won't be changing any time soon.

“We've still got her - she's still going strong,” Ramm said.

“She won't be going anywhere!”