Unsung hero Day’s new deal so vital for Saints
Christian Day’s red hat has become as synonymous with the Saints second row as the red briefcase is with the UK Budget.
The Blackpool-born lock is a staple feature of a Northampton side that is made to tick by the power and experience of its pack.
No one epitomises Dorian West’s well-drilled unit more than Day, whose dominance in the lineout and leadership skills are second to none.
He may not be one of the more heralded members of the side, but he is certainly one of the most important.
So there was good news for Saints fans this week as the 30-year-old was announced as one of five forwards to commit their future to the club.
“If players are signing up before January you know they haven’t really looked around and they’re pretty settled where they are,” said Day.
“I was very happy to re-sign and pledge the next couple of years of my career to the Saints.”
Day’s value to the Northampton team was underlined in the recent game against Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens.
He spent the first half of that 40-7 rout sitting on the bench as Saints struggled to get a foothold in the game.
They went in at half-time 26-0 down and called for their wily campaigner to come on and pull the sinking ship out of choppy waters after half-time.
A week later, Day was back in the starting lineout, helping to steer Saints to a stunning 18-9 victory against the same opponents at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
“It’s been a good few days,” admitted the second row forward. “It was good to get the win away against a really good team and the news I’d signed a new contract was very good.
“It’s been very enjoyable here this season. We’ve brought in some fresh faces in the summer and we’re not just playing well but we’re also enjoying our rugby.
“That’s very important if you want to sustain success over a whole season. You don’t want to walk around with a sad face.”
Day admitted he had considered quitting the game before leaving Sale, with whom he won the Premiership, for a short spell at Stade Francais in 2008.
But his time in France and at Saints has re-energised the player, whose second row partnership with Courtney Lawes continues to go from strength to strength.
“My time here’s had its ups and downs, but it’s been pretty good for the most part,” said Day, a former England Under-21 captain.
“It’s good that I’m now one of the senior players, one of the oldest guys in the team and still enjoying my rugby.
“When I went out to France I was very down about rugby, but that opened my eyes to a different way of playing.
“It was good fun and since coming here I feel my game has come on in leaps and bounds and I’ve definitely improved as a player.
“I’ve definitely got a lot of gratitude for the coaches and the club for bringing me here.”
As Day points out, he is now one of the more experienced members of the Saints squad.
During recent spells out injured, he has taken to helping coach the club’s youngsters, passing on his wisdom whenever possible.
And the studious character, who has clocked up 116 Saints appearances, is enjoying seeing the talent that is coming through.
“The likes of Tom Collins starting away in the Aviva Stadium in front of nearly 50,000 people and was one of the best players on the pitch, I thought, so it shows you the Academy is working and it’s starting to turn out top class youngsters,” said Day.
“You don’t just see them on Monday night (for the Wanderers), you see them in the Premiership and the Heineken now which is real testament to the success of the Academy.”
From old to young, Saints are impressing.
Day is certainly one of the most vital components of a squad that appears to be going places and, thanks to his new deal, he will continue to be for years to come.