'Unfinished business' played a part in Proctor's decision to stay at Saints

Matt Proctor says 'unfinished business' was one of the key reasons why he signed a contract extension at Saints.

Proctor feels he has been unable to showcase his best form since arriving in Northampton from the Hurricanes back in 2019.

The New Zealand centre has been hampered by injuries, and the issues Covid-19 has caused off the field has not made life any easier.

But Proctor feels he has started to emerge from that tricky spell and is now desperate to show his true worth having recently penned a new deal at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens.

Matt Proctor

"It was quite an easy decision for us," said the 29-year-old, who has scored four tries in 42 appearances for Saints.

"There is a lot of potential in this club and in the coming years it can potentially do big things and I definitely wanted to be involved in that.

"That was one aspect of it, but also I've been here for two years now and through all the Covid disruptions I feel like I haven't actually had an opportunity to put my best foot forward and I haven't actually given the Prem a proper crack.

"I felt like it was a bit of unfinished business and I didn't really want to leave on those terms.

"I was eager to stay to really dig my heels in and give it a proper crack.

"There might have been a few other options but another big reason was my family is quite settled here at the moment.

"With two kids, another big move is quite a big deal.

"We were happy when they came back to us and were keen to keep me on so it was a no-brainer for me."

Proctor became the first player to re-sign knowing Phil Dowson would be stepping up from forwards coach to replace Chris Boyd in the director of rugby hot seat this summer.

And Proctor said: "He's going to be an awesome replacement for Boydy.

"He's someone who is highly respected at the club and when he speaks he commands a lot of respect from everyone.

"I get along well with him and he'll do good things for the club."

For now though, all that matters to Proctor is securing a win at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Friday night.

He returned from a hamstring injury sustained against Harlequins in December to help Saints win at Worcester Warriors last time out.

And Proctor is now desperate to get back on the field against Tigers.

"I tore my hamstring against Harlequins in the Christmas game so the Worcester game was my first one back," said Proctor, who spent his time off last week moving house.

"I'm just itching to get back out there because I don't really like watching from the sidelines.

"We needed those wins against Newcastle and Worcester to get some momentum back and it takes some pressure off.

"It gives the boys a bit of confidence in what we're doing and gives us our swagger back."

Fifth-placed Saints go to Gallagher Premiership table-toppers Leicester Tigers tonight, aiming to exact revenge for a 55-26 defeat at the Gardens back in October.

And Proctor said: "We were reminded pretty quickly on Monday morning that the last time we played them we got a bit of a hiding so we're definitely out to prove a point this week.

"Last time we played them they put 50-odd points on us and it was quite embarrassing.

"We're doing as much as we can to prepare and hopefully go up there and put in a good performance.

"There have been a couple of things we have spoken about and the first thing is that they beat us up physically.

"We were just late to everything and they were just getting front-foot ball on every carry, and every tackle they were making was dominant.

"We were losing all of those physical battles and that was probably more a mental aspect - we weren't quite there.

"We were too slow and it shows what happens when you're not quite there on a big day.

"It's also about putting our game on the field because there were periods of that game in October when we did things we wouldn't normally do and that isn't in our DNA.

"Pressure got to us and we've got to make sure we put our game on the field and match them physically, which would lay a good foundation for us to do what we can do."