Director of rugby Chris Boyd is hoping Sunday's Premiership Rugby Cup victory will inject even more confidence into his side as they reach the business end of the season.
Northampton Saints claimed an historic 23-9 win over Saracens in the sold-out final held at Franklin’s Gardens, with Teimana Harrison, Tom Wood and Ahsee Tuala all crossing in a first-half blitz to set the hosts on their way.
A stellar defensive effort after the break saw them secure the inaugural title after the competition was restructured this year – a first major trophy for the men in Black, Green and Gold in almost five years.
“As a vehicle for development the Premiership Rugby Cup is a really good concept.”Chris Boyd
And Boyd believes the competition has been most useful for blending youth and experience in the first team.
“We’re pleased to have won for the Club, the supporters and the community; it’s good for them and for the team as well, it should put some confidence into them,” he said.
“It’s hard to put into perspective what winning the PRC trophy means to your season but it’s one of three opportunities we have to win silverware, and for a young group it’s probably the best opportunity we had, so we’re pleased to have done that.
“For a pool and knockout competition that has by and large a 'development focus' around it, all the teams have mixed older guys with younger guys and it’s really good for our young guys to play.
“It’s been a vehicle for us because for instance George Furbank was able to get a bit of form and show us what he’s got.
“His form at the beginning of the PRC has now pretty much promoted him into getting picked in the Gallagher Premiership on a regular basis, so as a vehicle for development it’s a really good concept.”
💬 "We've seen guys like @GeorgeFurbank, @AlexanderMoon96, @JaamesGrayson10 performing well in the PRC and as a result— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) March 17, 2019
coming through and playing regular first team fixtures."
Chris Boyd on why @premrugby Cup glory means more than just silverware to Saints pic.twitter.com/xNF90NRqhH
There's no respite for Boyd and his squad however, with two critical clashes coming up in the next two weeks.
First up on Friday evening is a trip up the road to face bitter East Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership, before a second trip of the season to French giants ASM Clermont Auvergne in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup – and Boyd admitted the congested schedule has given him a few selection headaches.
He said: “It was a bit tricky around selection on Sunday because we’ve got a five day turnaround.
“We play Leicester on Friday night and I’m supposing they will have their internationals back. Dan Biggar will probably play for us but we haven’t got a lot guys coming back in.
“There are guys who have played lots of minutes out there, so we need to bring some cavalry in to give us some fresh legs.
“The week after this we go to Clermont to play in a European Challenge Cup quarter-final, and I don’t think an English team have won in Clermont since 2006.
“It’s three different challenges and three different trophies in three weeks, it’s very interesting for us but we've started off in the right way.”