Saints youngster James is doing his family name justice

James Grayson has played a big part in pre-season at Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
James Grayson has played a big part in pre-season at Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

It’s noticeable that when James Grayson lists his idols, his dad’s name isn’t among them.

It is understandable that the young fly-half doesn’t want to give father Paul too much credit, especially as he is now trying to make his own way in the game.

But there is no doubt that, as you would expect, Grayson senior is having a big impact on his son’s career.

The pair sit down after matches to discuss what James can improve.

And that can only be a good thing for the former Northampton School for Boys pupil as he gets to learn from the man who remains way out in front as Saints’ record all-time points scorer.

“When I was younger it was about trying to mimic my idols: Dan Carter, Carlos Spencer, the greats really,” Grayson junior said.

“Now me and dad go over my games together and pick little bits I can improve going into the next week.

“We look at taking the ball flatter to the line, staying high in defence and things like that, relatively simple key points.”

And when the point is made that Grayson senior is considered among the greats at the Gardens, James smiles and says: “He wasn’t bad, was he? He was alright.

“Not a bad role model.

“I don’t really remember too much about watching him play.

“I remember running around on the pitch when I was younger, but the bits I have seen I’d say we’re relatively similar.

“I try to kick my goals, I pride myself on that, and we’re relatively similar I’d say.

“I’d take emulating him in the future. It wouldn’t be bad.”

James has been making a good impression during pre-season, starting at fly-half in the opening two pre-season matches.

He looked composed in the 71-21 victory against the Dragons and then got on the scoresheet in the 32-21 success against Nottingham last Thursday.

He was also involved in the 19-14 win against Glasgow in Stirling last Saturday.

And James said: “It’s been relatively good for me this year.

“You never wish injury on anyone, but Stephen Myler’s struggling with his knee at the moment so I’ve been able to have a full pre-season running in at fly-half.

“Piers (Francis) recently arrived so I’ve been learning from him, which has been good, and it’s been nice to get back with the lads and get back to work.

“It’s been good fun.”

With Sam Olver having been allowed to move to Worcester Warriors during the summer, there is an opening for Grayson to step up as Saints’ fourth-choice fly-half this season.

He will be behind Francis, Myler and Harry Mallinder in the pecking order for big matches, but is likely to get game time in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and for the Wanderers.

And he is revelling in learning his trade at Saints.

“It’s been awesome for me,” he said. “I remember being three or four, kicking on the pitch, going to training and being around the team environment.

“It is a family club and it’s somewhere I’d like to stay for a long time.”