Francis enjoying inside centre role at Saints

Piers Francis has been starting at 12 for Saints in recent weeks (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Piers Francis has been starting at 12 for Saints in recent weeks (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Piers Francis says he is enjoying life in the Saints No.12 shirt.

The Gravesend-born back was brought to Northampton from Super Rugby side the Blues last summer.

Jim Mallinder, who was Saints director of rugby at the time, insisted he saw Francis as a fly-half, even though he had played as a 12 on England's summer tour of Argentina.

But since the start of March, Francis has been used more as an inside centre, with technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney stating that is the 27-year-old's best position.

Francis has made the shirt his own with some strong showings.

And with Wales No.10 Dan Biggar arriving at Franklin's Gardens this summer, the pair could strike up a formidable partnership.

"I'm enjoying it," said Francis. "I've had a bit of exposure now at 12.

"I guess it wasn't necessarily the position I thought I'd be occupying at the start of the season, but I'm really growing into it.

"I'm really enjoying my time in the 12 jersey.

"I'd like to try to stake a claim for any jersey and 10/12 are the two positions I've occupied now.

"I've spent a lot of time at 10 and enjoyed that but doing a job in the 12 jersey is good.

"You get a little bit more time with the backs and don't necessarily have to organise the forwards as much, which is good.

"I equally enjoy both positions but the 12 position seems to be the one for me at the moment and I'm relishing it, so it's cool."

Francis helped to propel Saints to a sensational 27-21 win against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road a couple of weeks ago.

And now he wants more of the same when his side travel to the Ricoh Arena to take on Wasps on Sunday.

"We're motivated for a number of reasons," Francis said.

"A big away win against Leicester was a huge result for us and we're trying to make sure it's not just a one-off and we want to bring that energy and spark into this Sunday.

"It's another huge fixture against a good team in Wasps at the Ricoh.

"We're very much looking forward to it."