Francis keen to kick on after ending his losing start at Saints

Piers Francis secured his first Saints win last Friday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Piers Francis secured his first Saints win last Friday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Piers Francis admits his start to life at Saints was 'not one of the most ideal entries into the club'.

But the fly-half is now ready to kick on after shrugging off a losing record and a string of injury issues.

Francis, who arrived at Northampton from Super Rugby side the Blues last summer, had suffered defeat in all 10 of his games for the black, green and gold prior to last Friday's Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Harlequins.

But he finally ended that personal losing streak after starting at 10 in the 36-10 success at Franklin's Gardens.

Francis has been hit by four separate injuries since joining Saints, but he is now fit and firing ahead of tonight's Aviva Premiership trip to Bath(kick-off 7.45pm).

And the 27-year-old said: "There's no shying away from the fact there's been a few tough results and with myself having a couple of injuries after turning up, it's not one of the most ideal entries into the club.

"But I feel good now, really settled and I feel like the club is in a good spot after the well-documented changes in personnel.

"I'm excited to come back onto the pitch on Friday and just get stuck in really.

"It's what I've been keen to do for the past four or five weeks, having been on the sidelines.

"I'm excited to be back and hopefully getting into a bit of a groove now."

On the 10 defeats in his first 10 matches at Saints, Francis said: "I didn't know how many people knew about that.

"Last week was my first competitive win at the club, which when you think about joining at the start of the season and we're now in February, it doesn't look very good.

"I guess it demonstrates we've been through a tough period and my injuries haven't been timed the best either.

"It's great to get in winning ways and sing the (victory) song with the boys for the first time.

"I want to crack on, get a string of those wins and push ourselves up the Premiership table."

Francis suffered a fractured jaw in a pre-season win against Glasgow Warriors.

That kept him out until October, when he made his Saints debut in a defeat at Gloucester.

He has also suffered an ankle injury, against Wasps later in October, and another knock in a defeat at Worcester in November.

Francis then sustained concussion after a collision with Jamie Roberts in Saints' defeat to Harlequins on December 30 and only returned against the same side last week.

"I had quite a few injuries at the start of my rugby career and I thought I was well over that and having a good run over the past few years," Francis said.

"Getting into a new club, new environment and a new league, I thought it would all go swimmingly, but these things crop up and it's the nature of the sport.

"Hopefully I've had all my injuries now for a few years and I can push on with a body that is going to function properly so I can contribute to the club here at Northampton."

Francis is keen to build momentum at Saints with the Gravesend-born player well aware that Wales star Dan Biggar will be rivalling him for the No.10 shirt next season.

"The main aim is to try to prove myself in any jersey I get given," said Francis, who can also play at centre.

"Having the 10 jersey last Friday was brilliant and whatever happens with guys coming in next season, that's next season, that's down the line and it's a challenge I'm very much looking forward to.

"It's great that the club is bringing in players like that, but that's a few months down the line.

"We've got a huge job to do on Friday, let alone the rest of the season.

"Hopefully I can contribute really positively week in, week out and get the club up to where we should be."

Saints currently sit 10th in the Premiership standings going into the game at Bath, who they will also travel to in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals next month.

And Francis said: "This will be my first trip to The Rec and this time of year, I could be putting some bigger studs in from what I've been told.

"It's a Friday night - I really enjoyed Friday night at the Gardens last week here - and it will be good there.

"It's two big teams going at it and we're looking forward to getting a big result away from home to keep building on the positive results we've had in the past month."