Saints farewell interview: Matt Worley

Matt Worley made one appearance for Saints, against Bristol back in October
Matt Worley made one appearance for Saints, against Bristol back in October

Matt Worley only managed to play one game for Saints, but even though he is now leaving the club, there is still hope that it might not be his last appearance in the black, green and gold.

That is because Worley is not moving far - and he is certainly not moving away from the idea that he may get a second chance at Saints one day.

In fact, the coaches have given him encouragement that should he excel for Championship club Bedford Blues in the years to come, he could eventually find his way back to Franklin’s Gardens.

“I got told by the coaches to go and develop and you can’t rule out coming back to the Prem and maybe the Saints,” said Worley, who joined Saints last summer after leaving French giants Racing 92.

“It’s always an option and it’s about going and proving yourself and coming back better to bounce back into the Prem, where the best rugby is being played.

“I’ve been put in different positions over the past couple of the years so it’s about cementing what position I want to be.

“In Hong Kong I was a nine, I went to Paris and became a 15, came here and played on the wings a lot and then I went to Bedford and I was a 13.

“It’s about thinking where I’m actually going to play and what position I’m best at. It’s something I need to do quite quickly.

“And then it’s about micro-skills because there’s always something to improve.

“You always need to work on your defensive readings, your tackling, your passing and I need to work on those key things.”

Worley certainly showed plenty of potential for the Wanderers, using his blistering pace to help him score tries for fun in the Premiership Rugby Shield.

But he never managed to establish himself in the first team, making just a single appearance, in the Premiership Rugby Cup success against Bristol Bears back in October.

“Playing my role and being part of a Prem Cup victory (Saints eventually went on to win the trophy) was a massive achievement for the club,” Worley said.

“Everyone counted at the club and for the club to change the opinion and excite fans while proving a top-four finish was possible was important.

“I got to score some good tries for the Wandies - a hat-trick against Worcester - and even though we lost to Saracens in the semi-final, to score the only try of the game was special.”

On his Saints stay overall, Worley, who grew up in Hong Kong before his rugby journey took him to Paris and then Northampton, said: “It was good, and it was definitely a very different experience to what I’ve had before.

“I had three years in France and that was a good insight into how rugby is so different around the world. They did things their own way, a very French way and maybe weren’t interested in using new styles.

“From what I heard, there were maybe some of those old-school, traditional ways before Boydy (Saints boss Chris Boyd) came in, but when he arrived he definitely changed the way we played.

“The way we did things as a team was definitely different to what I’d experienced and what other guys who had been at Saints before had experienced.

“It was pretty cool to go through that and it was a massive learning curve last season.

“It benefited me to have some exposure in the Prem Cup, even though I only played one game and got concussed in it.

“I also got to play in the A League, went on loan to Bedford and that was great exposure to a good level of rugby.”

And that dual-registration spell with Bedford persuaded the Blues coaches that Worley was worth investing in.

The 21-year-old was described as ‘electric’ by Bedford boss Mike Rayer, and Worley can’t wait to make his mark on a more permanent basis next season.

“I’m really excited because I really enjoyed the last part of the season with them,” Worley said.

“I was playing really well and it’s going to be really important for me in terms of my development.

“It’s nice to know I’ve been there before, I’m not going to a hostile environment and it gives me a bit of an advantage.

“It’s going to be so close to Saints and if I’ve got a weekend off I’ll borrow someone’s season ticket and go and watch a game.”

While Worley won’t be part of Saints’ back-line options next season, several other talented youngsters will be.

And Worley is looking forward to watching them in action while also keeping in touch with them on a regular basis.

“There was quite a lot of young competition coming through because Sleights is outstanding and there’s a few coming up from the Under-18s,” he said.

“It was always going to be the case that there were a couple of spots up for grabs and maybe I wasn’t the style the coaches wanted, but I didn’t have any regrets or grudges.

“If I hadn’t come here in the first place I wouldn’t have been off to Bedford next season and I wouldn’t have been able to do the things I have.

“Most people probably don’t want to leave a club like Saints after just one season but I’m fortunate that I’m moving on to somewhere quite close.

“I’ll always visit the boys and I’m sure I’ll see people around still.”