Saints switch was too good for Olowofela to turn down

Ryan Olowofela has swapped the England sevens side for Saints
Ryan Olowofela has swapped the England sevens side for Saints

'Serious wheels and some flair’.

That is Ryan Olowofela’s response when asked what he will bring to Saints this season.

The 21-year-old has opted to swap the England sevens side for life at Franklin’s Gardens - and he can’t wait to show what he’s made of.

“I had a good season season in sevens and an opportunity just came up at Saints,” Olowofela explained.

“With the way they finished last season it’s pretty special and they seem to be on the way up.

“I just thought I couldn’t let this opportunity go so I signed.

“It was difficult to leave sevens because it’s literally as fun as it seems on TV.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but it was one that will be best for the future.

“Sevens is really intense and I did always want to come back to 15s, I just didn’t know when.

“But when this opportunity came up I realised this might be the time.”

Olowofela has travelled the world scoring tries for fun in sevens.

But now the former Leicester Tigers youngster is ready to settle at Saints.

“I’ve worked a lot with the back three here already and it’s clear that if you perform, you get a chance,” Olowofela said. “That’s never going to change.

“The competition’s there and that’s what pushes people. It makes teams better and you need that.

“If you’re training well you get given a chance and you’ve got to take it. That’s what the young boys did here last season and they became regular starters.”

Olowofela will face competition for the likes of Tom Collins and Taqele Naiyaravoro for a wing berth.

And he’s so far managed to avoid squaring up to the big Australian in training.

When asked whether he’s had the chance to try to tackle Naiyaravoro yet, Olowofela laughed and said: “Definitely not!

“He’s got unbelievable hands, an offload game and he’s huge, so strong.

“When it comes round to tackling him, I don’t know how it will go.

“Hopefully I’ll be a few kilos heavier by then!”

Gaining weight it clearly a big target for the speedy wide man.

Olowofela added: “As far as the structure (of 15-a-side rugby) goes and understanding, it obviously is hard.

“Obviously in 15s there are bigger players to tackle and being robust is the main thing to focus on.

“I’m just trying to put some weight on at the moment so I don’t break.

“To be honest, it (pre-season training) has been pretty hard.

“I’m still finding my feet but it’s pre-season so you expect it to be difficult.

“It’s been class so far and everyone has welcomed me with open arms.

“We’re all on the same page and it’s been really nice.”

If Olowofela does find his way into the Saints first team this season, he could be set for an interesting confrontation.

His twin brother, Jordan, is now a key player for Leicester, but the pair’s sibling bond clearly won’t be affected by local rivalry.

“I’m sure it will be pretty interesting and it will be fun,” said Ryan, who played alongside his brother during their Leicester Academy days.

“You can’t break that twin bond and I see him every weekend so nothing’s changed there, apart from the fact we’ll be wearing different shirts.

“I haven’t really thought about going from Leicester to Saints because I’ve been somewhere else in between.

“The boys here didn’t really make a thing of it.

“Obviously there’s going to be a bit of banter here and there but nothing really was said and I haven’t really had to think about it.”

Another man at Saints who has a strong Leicester link is attack coach Sam Vesty.

And he is someone Olowofela is enjoying working with.

“He’s class, one of the best in the business,” Olowofela said.

“I’ve known of him and he was a reason why I chose the club as well.”

The new season is little

more than a month away and hopes are high that Saints can build on last season’s strong campaign.

The black, green and gold finished fourth in the Gallagher Premiership, reached the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup and won the Premiership Rugby Cup.

And Olowofela said: “If we start the way we finished last season, it’s going to be special. That’s the plan.”