Dusty Hare says that the Saints' youngsters have put in plenty of hard work © www.adedaposegun.co.uk
Academy News Hare: Hard work got us to Academies League final
Dusty Hare says that hard work has got the Saints Under-18s within touching distance of the Premiership Rugby Academies League title and is backing his players to grasp their chance to impress watching Aviva Premiership coaches.
The inaugural Under-18 Academy Finals day will take place at Allianz Park, pitting eight Academies and a wealth of future Aviva Premiership stars against each other.
Entry to the event is free of charge and sure to be in attendance are senior coaches on the lookout for talented additions to next year’s squads.
One possible star of the future will be a familiar name to most in fly-half Harry Mallinder – son of director of rugby Jim – who has been part of Saints’ Academy since he was 15.
And though not every player will be offered a senior contract at Franklin’s Gardens, Hare believes Finals Day will prove the perfect opportunity for his youngsters to impress.
“Not everyone at Northampton will be offered contracts because financially we can’t afford that, so it’s not the nicest of times because we have to make hard decisions,” he said.
“For some of them it’s the last time they might pull on a Northampton shirt. But the Academy Day will be a great structure for these lads to compete in and to impress other academy managers too.
“For example he might think ‘he looks like a very good player, we don’t have a fly-half’ or ‘we could do with a centre’ and it opens up more opportunities. We think everyone’s been a success story to come out of the Academy, even if some have been more successful than others.
“We have had quite a few lads in the first team from when I first joined four years ago, such as Mike Haywood, Ben Nutley and Jamie Elliott who are a big part of what the senior team are trying to do.”
Northampton will round off the day with a clash against Exeter Chiefs at 5pm, after being crowned Northern Conference top seeds earlier this week with a gutsy 5-0 victory over Gloucester Rugby.
Hare believes his set-up’s success is down to a lot of determination from players and staff alike – and can’t wait to see what they can do on a bigger stage.
“It’s quite simple really – hard work, there’s no substitute for that, and having good people around to encourage the lads to do that,” said the Saints' recruitment and development manager. “That’s how they will progress to the senior squad.
“It’s good to be playing at Allianz Park where you have got four games between a lot of good quality lads in England and that’s the way forward to go.
“It’s not as if one Academy wants to prove they are the best because it’s still at a development stage, trying different partnerships out or different players in different positions.
“But the lads can only develop by playing the best the country has to offer so it will be a good occasion.”
Entry is free and the schedule is:
11am Game 1 Saracens v London Irish
1pm Game 2 Bath v Gloucester
3pm Game 3 Harlequins v Leicester
5pm Game 4 Northampton v Exeter