Northampton Saints’ Director of Rugby, Chris Boyd, has challenged the Club’s international prospects to make the step-up into the Test arena stick this season.
The likes of Lewis Ludlam, George Furbank (both England) and Rory Hutchinson (Scotland) have all earned debuts for their countries over the last couple of seasons, while David Ribbans, Fraser Dingwall, Alex Mitchell and Alex Moon have also regularly been called into the England squad to train.
Ahsee Tuala continues to represent Samoa regularly, with incoming scrum-half Frank Lomani also a teammate of Sam Matavesi with the Flying Fijians.
But as the men in Black, Green and Gold hope to chase major honours this term, Boyd wants to see those knocking on the door emulate Northampton teammates Courtney Lawes and Dan Biggar in cementing their place among the elite and racking up dozens of international caps – because that will only help Saints in the long run.
“If you look at the Saints team of perhaps 2014 to 2018, that had been a very stable team, a very experienced team, a very mature team and they had stuck with that and been reasonably successful,” Boyd said. “It (the success) drained off a little but the youngsters really hadn’t been given a lot of opportunities.
“So, what struck me when I arrived was that there were some really capable rugby players here, and if we gave them a chance to express themselves we would get some fruit off the tree. That has proven to be.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“The trick now is that we have had a number of guys out of our Academy that have all had little snippets of opportunities to go into the England environment – but in the back-end, none of those has really gone on to consolidate themselves.
“So there is a group of youngsters here and it is probably time they started putting in some really consistent performances to see if they can really go to the next level.
“Most of it has led to England. We had the odd guy that went to Scotland and the odd international that was already an international, but those guys who have gone and had a little taste haven’t really kicked on.
“Test rugby is another environment where someone else makes the decisions, and we just hope that we can help some of those guys go a little bit further.”