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Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com
Claire Jones / RedHatPhoto.com

Waller: Boyd’s faith in Saints youngsters well founded

Club captain Alex Waller believes the strength in depth that Saints have in their younger players will be a huge advantage for the team in the coming weeks.

Northampton’s starlets stole the spotlight during last weekend’s 36-17 bonus-point victory over Wasps, with the average age of the hosts’ backline just 23 years old.

"I’m immensely proud of these younger lads; they’ve put in a great shift and got their rewards against Wasps."

Alex Waller

Fraser Dingwall and Ollie Sleightholme scored their first tries in Black, Green and Gold, whereas the likes of Lewis Ludlam and Alex Moon dominated the tackle and carry stat charts during the clash.

And skipper Waller insists that with Saints’ up-and-coming prospects firing on all cylinders at the moment, the entire squad will benefit from their impact.

“It's awesome to see the faith in the youth that Chris Boyd and the coaches have got, and they showed on Saturday that they can step up and put in a decent performance,” he said.

“That gives us confidence especially if we have a couple of the knocks with the older boys.

“I’m immensely proud of these younger lads; they’ve put in a great shift the last three weeks in the Premiership Rugby Cup, and they got their rewards against Wasps.

“It’s not just the guys who played on Saturday that are impressing us – Fraser Dingwall, George Furbank, Ollie Sleightholme and so on.

“The likes of Fraser Strachan and some of the other boys that are coming through as well are pushing everybody for the starting spots.

“We’ve got plenty of strength in depth with our youth, and that’s only going to make the older boys train harder – it’s a knock-on effect that’s going to be good for us as a squad.”

While Saints claimed their third victory of the Gallagher Premiership season, Ollie Sleightholme in particular etched his name into the league’s record books.

Not only did he become the first player born after the millennium to score in the Premiership, but the 18-year-old and father Jon – who played 76 times for Saints – are now only the fourth set of fathers and sons to both score in the competition.

Waller said: “Ollie made a hell of an impact. Both he and Luther [Burrell] came off the bench at the same time, and Luther made a brilliant step and sent the ball to put Sleights in.

“Sleights has got dangerous speed so I'm sure he'll be happy with that, and I'm sure his old man was really happy in the crowd.

“You can't ask for a better debut really; a nice win and a 40-metre run in, so I'm thrilled for him as he's one for the future definitely.”

Tickets are now available for Northampton Saints' next home match – with the men in Black, Green and Gold hosting Newcastle Falcons at Franklin's Gardens – starting from £28 for adults and a special price of just £1 for juniors. Buy now by CLICKING HERE.

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