Bedford stint has been a huge help for Saints youngster Tonks

JJ Tonks believes his spell with Bedford Blues has put him in a good position to show his worth at Saints.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 7:00 am
JJ Tonks

And the 20-year-old has hailed the likes of Tom Wood and Teimana Harrison for showing him the ropes at Franklin's Gardens.

Tonks arrived at Saints from Gloucester in the summer of 2019 and has racked up 16 appearances so far.

He started eight times last season, coming off the bench on three occasions, and he has been used as a replacement five times during the current campaign.

Tonks also spent some time with Championship side Bedford recently, along with several other Saints squad members.

And he said: "I've been on loan to Bedford, had a couple of games and it was really positive. They're a good group of lads there, the coaching staff are really good and it was awesome to get game time.

"Everyone at Bedford made us very welcome and I think there were 11 of us from Saints that were there at one time.

"The boys welcomed us, they're a good group of lads and the only difficulty was learning new calls but they were really helpful. They even changed some calls to help us and I think we slotted in really well.

"The experience has stood me in good stead to show what I can do here.

"It's a big step up here at Saints but the Championship is a good level to show the coaches what you can do.

"As a back row, I'm just trying to make more dominant carries and the breakdown is another of my biggest work-ons.

"Woody and Tei are very good in that area so I'm using their knowledge and experience to help me.

"They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks but Woody has proved that wrong because he's always learning and always keen to show us youngsters how to do it.

"If he comes up with a new idea, he comes and shares his thoughts and knowledge with us and it's really helpful."

Tonks is now ready to get some more game time in the Challenge Cup last 16 clash with the Dragons at Rodney Parade this weekend.

And he said: "We're in a good position and the win at Worcester last week has hopefully given us some momentum going into the weekend.

"Every time I get a chance to wear a Saints shirt I do as much as I can to give my all, and going down to the Dragons isn't going to be easy.

"Hopefully we can fly into that game and the plan is to stay in the competition and be involved in the quarter-finals the week after, which would be another awesome experience."