Jordan Onojaife says it was a ‘privilege’ to turn out for the Saints in his second Mobbs Memorial Match.
Franklin’s Gardens hosted the historic fixture last night, which ended in a 24-10 victory for a Saints side full of young players with hopes of becoming first team regulars.
One of those was 20-year-old Onojaife, the second row forward playing a full 80 and explaining what it meant to represent a Northampton legend.
“The Mobbs Memorial Match is part of what the Saints is about,” he told SaintsTV. “It was a privilege to play and represent a man who played for the Saints and did so much for the club and our country.”
The match saw Saints outscore the Army by four tries to one, but the try scorer added that it was by no means an easy victory.
“They definitely made us work hard for the win! They were fit and physical and really tested us.
“It was mostly about patience for us. Usually throughout the first 20 minutes teams go toe-to-toe, and are pretty even. You need to grind them down in the forwards and hopefully take advantage when the other team tires in the second 20 and the second half”
The match saw a strong set piece performance from Saints, with both the scrum and line out working well and Onojaife at the heart of it.
“It was great. For me, it’s good to try and emulate the likes of Christian Day and be a line out guru!
“I definitely felt I took on more responsibility, although I’m still only 20! With some of the lads being 17 or 18 I definitely feel older having played in the fixture when I was a young lad in my first season at Saints.”
With just a handful of Aviva ‘A’ League fixtures during the course of the season, gaining match experience wherever possible is crucial for the development of the younger squad members.
While the Mobbs Memorial Match can play an important role in helping these players gain more experience, opportunities away from Saints can also prove invaluable.
Onojaife is hoping this combination will stand him in good stead, both in the long term and as the end of the ‘A’ League season approaches.
“I’ve spent a bit of time on loan at Moseley and it’s really helped with my physicality, because it’s a big physical league with big men,” the England Under-20 international added.
“Spending time at Moseley has really helped me with the 'A' League games, which are a bit quicker. Hopefully I can take that into the semi final and we can reach the final!”
That last four tie will be against either Saracens or Exeter at Franklin’s Gardens, with kick off provisionally set for 7:30pm on Monday, April 25th.