West insists future is bright at Saints despite double departure
Dorian West insists the future is bright in the Saints back row despite Calum Clark's departure.
Clark will join Saracens on a three-year deal this summer, bringing to an end a seven-year spell at Northampton.
The flanker moved to Saints from Leeds Carnegie, now known as Yorkshire Carnegie, in the summer of 2010.
He has won the Anglo-Welsh Cup, Aviva Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup during his time at Saints, as well as reaching the Heineken Cup final in 2011.
Clark was named players’ and supporters’ player of the season for the 2014/15 campaign, but missed the entirety of the following season with a shoulder injury.
He is currently out with a knee injury, having previously served a three-week ban after a clash with Worcester’s Donncha O’Callaghan in November.
And forwards coach West believes Saints can cope without Clark, who has made 142 appearances for the club to date.
“Calum’s not played any rugby for us over the last 18 months for whatever reason and it’s a massive opportunity now for the young lads that we’ve got coming through,” West said.
“We’re looking forward to what the future holds for the back row we’ve got, with lads like Lewis Ludlam and Ben Nutley who are coming up underneath them.
“The future is bright.
“It’s good that players come and go these days, they move on for whatever reason, and we have got lads who are playing some good rugby.
“I think the future’s promising there.”
Academy product Ethan Waller will be another Saints player moving on this summer, with the prop having agreed to join Worcester Warriors.
And West said: “Ethan’s a difficult one because he’s a local lad, he’s still young and he’s still finding his way in the team.
“He’s frustrated because he wants to play week in, week out and one of the problems he’s got is that his brother is so reliable, so durable and such a consistent performer.
“Alex plays week in, week out and the opportunities have been limited for Ethan.
“He’s got frustrated and he wants to move on for that reason. It is disappointing.”
Saints could move into the transfer market to replace Waller.
But West also feels Matt Beesley, who has played three times for Saints since joining from National League One side Wharfedale, can step up.
“We’ve got young Beesley who has been improving,” West said.
“We signed him from a lower level, but he’s made some massive improvements and taken steps in the right direction.
“Hopefully we can carry on improving him, but we’re always on the look-out for new signings as well so we’ll see what the future brings.”