Towering Northampton Saints second row Tom Lockett has beefed up over the off-season and believes the wins will flow once victory number one of the 2023/24 campaign arrives.
The Senior Academy lock starts for the men in Black, Green and Gold against Cambridge at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) – moving him to ten senior appearances after making his debut in March 2022.
Now the 20-year-old is focused on making the next step of his fledgling career after putting his summer to good use before reporting back to duty.
“One of my big targets during the off-season was to put a little bit of weight on and come back in a better physical state to mix it in the Premiership,” said the 6ft 8in tall forward.
“I think I did that; I came back quite a bit heavier. I am now 122kg, whereas last season I was at 116kg, so I’ve added about 6kg.
“I had a week of down time when I went away with a couple of the boys to Portugal then after that it was back in the gym, eating well and running.
“I came back in on the first day of preseason and I was in better shape than I had been for the past two years, which I was really happy with.”Tom Lockett
“Hopefully now it’s just about turning that into good performances and putting it on the pitch.”
Lockett missed out on the preseason game with Bedford Blues and the exhibition encounter with Barbarian F.C., but started in last weekend’s Premiership Rugby Cup loss to Ealing Trailfinders.
Heading into Saints’ first competitive game at the Gardens for five months, Lockett shed light on the approach of his side preparing to face the newly-promoted Championship outfit.
“The massive thing for us is getting that first win,” he said. “It's like a snowball, once you start winning, it’s hard to stop.
“It changes the whole mood around the camp when we’re playing well and winning so I think that big focus is getting that win on the board.”Tom Lockett
“They’ve got quite a big connection with the Blood and Sand,” Lockett added. “When we knew that they were on the verge of promotion to the Championship, we were following it quite closely.
“Rams were probably favourites to go up from National One and Cambridge pipped them. It was awesome for those boys, it’s massive for such a great club to be in the Championship and mixing it with teams like Ealing and then Premiership teams in the Premiership Rugby Cup.”
All of Lockett’s senior Saints outings to date have come in the Premiership Rugby Cup and he stressed the competition’s importance in developing young players’ games.
“The PRC has given me a lot of chances to wear a Saints shirt,” Lockett said. “We know how competitive this Club is and you never know when you’re playing your last game. To keep getting those opportunities is massive.
“It’s really enjoyable to run out at the Gardens. Whether it’s a Saturday or a weekday, whether it’s in the Premiership or the Premiership Rugby Cup. We’ve got quite a young group and we’ve played some exciting rugby. It’s been a very good competition for me especially over the last two or three seasons.”