Northampton Saints centre Rory Hutchinson insists that despite going down to two narrow Premiership Cup defeats in consecutive weeks, Northampton Saints have plenty to be optimistic about with the Club’s younger players stepping up to the mark.
After going down late on to London Irish the week beforehand, the men in Black, Green and Gold were once again edged out in the closing stages of the game as they rounded off the first block of Cup matches against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop.
George Hendy, Mike Haywood and Josh Gillespie all crossed for Saints before half-time, with James Grayson adding two penalties to two first-half conversions after the break, but a pair of yellow cards cost Saints with Quins then scoring two late tries to snatch a 26-25 victory.
Though Hutchinson is still only 25 years old, his 90 appearances in Black, Green and Gold to date made him one of Northampton’s more senior faces the side over the last two weeks, and the centre has enjoyed featuring alongside Saints’ newcomers in the Cup’s opening rounds.
“Losing that game against Quins hurt,” he said. “I thought apart from the first ten or 15 minutes, when we went two scores down, that we actually turned the game around really well and stuck to our DNA.
“We were the dominant team, especially up front in our forwards. Going down to a seven-man scrum at times, I thought our scrum and maul were outstanding.”Rory Hutchinson
“It’s great playing with the younger lads. There’s a lot of energy in that team, there’s going to be some really good players coming through over the next few years.
“This competition is the foundations for them to take to the next step in their careers. They’ve done really well in this two-week block.”
The two rounds of Cup action have been useful for Hutchinson too, with the Scotland centre hoping to use the additional game time to spur an electric spell of form for both himself and Saints, with a return to Gallagher Premiership action against Bristol Bears now looming on Friday.
Hutchinson admitted: “I haven’t been up at the level I should be so far this season. For me, I needed to play these two games and prove that I should be involved when we get back into the Premiership.
It was another up and down evening for our young Saints in the Prem Rugby Cup 🎢— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) November 20, 2021
“This was about getting as much game time as possible, getting some consistency in my game. I’m not too happy with my performances at the moment, but if I keep playing regularly then I know I can get back to it.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge against Bristol but we’re really looking forward to it.
“We want to keep our form up in the Premiership; we dipped a little bit after a really good start, so we just need to protect that form going forwards and take each week as it comes.”