Chris Boyd says big strides have been made at Saints this summer.
And the Kiwi boss has praised those new to the Franklin’s Gardens environment for the way they have settled in.
The likes of Henry Taylor and Ryan Olowofela are among those drafted in by Saints ahead of the new season.
And several Academy graduates have stepped up to the senior squad.
Boyd has been revelling in overseeing a full summer of work, having only been able to get glimpses last year due to his commitments at the Hurricanes, which didn’t end until July.
And he said: “Last year I was in and out a bit so this year, to be here for the whole time and see the progression guys have made, has been really good.
“Both from a physical point of view, a skill development point of view and a game understanding point of view, a lot of guys have made some big strides so it’s been good.
“It wasn’t too hard for me last year - I didn’t have too much problem switching between one club and the other.
“Obviously it was exciting for me here because it was fresh and new and I was finding out a lot of things about a lot of people, and that’s the nice thing about having some new guys in the environment this year.
“Not only do we have a benchmark for guys from last year and we’re seeing their progressions, but trying to find out about the new guys as characters and players is good fun.
“I’ve been really happy with everyone who has come in. It’s very positive.”
Boyd is looking forward to handing out more chances to young players this season.
He said: “Everyone seems to be thinking of using those PRC games first up as a pre-season hit-out in preparation for the Premiership so we’ll see some of the young fellas in those games.
“All you can hope is that they’re ready enough to make the most of it for themselves when they’re given an opportunity and if they’re not then that’s all part of the learning plan.”