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‘It was class’ – Garside relishes family moment in Stormers loss

Jake Garside was likely catching his breath and taking in the applause from a trademark burst to the line to score for Northampton Saints against DHL Stormers when a truly special family moment occurred.

With 17 minutes remaining at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, Jake was joined on the pitch by his older brother Alfie, when he replaced Tom Litchfield.

While family members present in the stands rejoiced at the Garside boys teaming up for the first time since they were together at Norwich School, Jake took a little longer to twig onto his sibling becoming a teammate once more.

“I turned around and he was on and I was like, oh nice!” he said. “I didn’t really have time to process it. But I know he knows what he is doing and would be okay. It was class.

“We played sixth form together for one year before he left but I don’t think I’ve played with him in the four years since.

“I got the ball down the left and I was getting rag-dolled around in a circle, I offloaded it to him and he made a decent carry.

“It’s weird, offloading to him and following him into contact realising it is your brother and not just a normal teammate. It’s special for all of us, especially dad, I am sure he was welling up!”

Jake Garside

Following the 45-29 exhibition match defeat, there was plenty of time for the Garside boys to pose with family members, including parents Tony and Anne.

“They love coming to watch,” Jake said. “I appreciate all the support they give me, I wouldn’t be here without them, especially with them transporting me across the country to play rugby!”

Jake became Saintsman #2051 when he made his debut in the Premiership Rugby Cup against Newcastle Falcons a little under two years ago as a scrum-half.

His latest outing in a Black, Green and Gold shirt came at full-back and the 21-year-old enjoyed the experience of manning the backfield.

“I love it,” he said. “I don’t mind the high ball so much, even though I am shorter. There’s so much space when you catch the ball and look up and there’s a lot of opportunity, you can just run with it!

“I didn’t really have to do too much work for the try, I got gifted it really. It was good play from the boys inside me and then all I had to do was run straight and finish it.”

After making two appearances for Saints earlier this season, Garside has featured on loan for Leicester Lions, Cambridge and most frequently at Saints strategic partnership side Bedford Blues in the Championship, where he scored two tries in a man-of-the-match performance as replacement in a 54-33 loss to Bristol Bears at Goldington Road a week previously.

“I think I am settling more into the back-three positions,” the versatile back added. “I am still doing my scrum-half stuff as well so I can do both and I feel like that is a good asset. Bedford has been brilliant, especially against Bristol which was a good game and a good challenge for us as underdogs really. 

“I haven’t got a lot of game time this season but I have been training a lot here at Saints, so I am improving, picking up things off the bigger lads and then putting it into the game and hopefully showing what I can do.”

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