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Northampton Saints’ Grayson looking forward to Premiership Rugby 7s

Northampton Saints’ Grayson looking forward to Premiership Rugby 7s

Northampton Saints prodigy James Grayson is looking forward to the ‘bright lights and fast-paced rugby’ of the Premiership Rugby 7s when it returns to Franklin’s Gardens in September.

The annual curtain-raiser to Gallagher Premiership Rugby is back at Franklin’s Gardens for a third year running this month, playing host to the ‘Olympic-style’ version on September 13 and 14.

Fly-half Grayson, 21, made major in-roads into the Saints first team last season after featuring in the 2018 Premiership Rugby 7s and Premiership Rugby Cup – which Saints won – and can’t wait to get started in 2019/20.

“It’s been a long pre-season and all the boys have put it a lot of hard yards so far,” he said. “It’ll be nice to get out and hopefully put on a good show in front of the crowd at Franklin’s Gardens.

“I was lucky enough to play in the sevens at the Ricoh Arena a few years ago, playing against Christian Wade and Elliot Daly, and Wade made me look a bit silly! I’m not the only one I guess! I think he scored like ten in the tournament.

“Then I’ve played here at Franklin’s Gardens as well. It’s a good event, it gives you chance to get your legs going and it’s different to pre-season friendlies, it gets the fitness going.

“It’ll be loud, it’s a good atmosphere on Friday nights when people get on the beers and it’ll be an immaculate surface as always, so it’s a good chance to experience the bright lights and fast-paced rugby.”

Grayson is maturing into an increasingly successful Northampton side, making eight Gallagher Premiership appearances last term as Saints reached their first Gallagher Premiership semi-final since 2015 as well as winning the Premiership Rugby Cup.

His rise to prominence came off the back of a starring role in the Premiership Rugby Cup that saw the young playmaker winning the public vote for the Breakthrough Player Award.

“It was really positive for the squad going on to win it,” Grayson continued. “Plenty of young boys came through and held on to their places and then played in the Gallagher Premiership.

“There was a clear correlation where if you played well in the Prem Rugby Cup you’d play in the Premiership and for me personally it was exciting starting all the games.

“I tried to lead the team’s attack and lead from the front and then managed to play a few Premiership games as well.

“I even managed to win Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player of the Season but I think most of my family voted for me!”

The good news keeps on coming for Saints fans, who increasingly displayed an enterprising style last season in Chris Boyd’s first campaign in charge.

As a result the likes of Piers Francis, Lewis Ludlam and Cobus Reinach are off to the World Cup in Japan, and Grayson is convinced the cup win can springboard the Saints to further success this season.

He continued: “This club’s got a lot of proud history and we’ve won a lot of cup competitions in the past, the last couple of years haven’t been good enough by our standards.

“So to actually win something, reach the top four and play some knockout rugby was brilliant and hopefully it’ll give us the chance to push forwards and go a couple better this year.

“With the World Cup there will be lads with opportunities early on and we’ve got the Prem Rugby Cup in the first four weeks.

“Hopefully we can take it as it comes and put ourselves in a good position for when those international guys come back.

“I don’t think it’s wise to give ourselves targets, we did well in the Premiership Rugby Cup but without internationals it means that boys are going to have to step up.

“There’s loads of young boys here that are chomping at the bit, myself included, so just taking every week as it comes, hopefully we’ll start well and who knows with the rest.”

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