Grayson 'turning a corner' as he gets set for Saints game time

It’s that time of year again: leaves are falling from trees and James Grayson is preparing for some regular game time at Saints.

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 5th November 2021, 7:00 am
James Grayson
James Grayson

And in the autumn of 2021, Grayson believes his game is ‘starting to turn the corner’.

The fly-half feels he is now a more mature version of the player who broke into the first-team during the 2017/18 season.

Although he is still just 23 years old, it is almost as though Grayson has been around the Gardens forever.

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Son of club legend Paul, he has grown up at the club, and he is now desperate to take it to new heights.

That starts by stepping into the No.10 shirt vacated by Wales international Dan Biggar, and helping Saints to try to secure what would be a huge win at Sale Sharks this weekend.

And Grayson, who started the opening two games of the season, which Saints won against Gloucester and Exeter, is in good shape ahead of the AJ Bell Stadium showdown.

“It was nice to play in the first few games and I got a half at the weekend, which was nice, to get on and play in front of the Franklin’s Gardens faithful,” Grayson said.

“It was the first time I’ve seen the Gardens packed for a long, long time and I was just disappointed about the result.

“But I feel good, fit and healthy, and I’m just looking forward to playing some rugby.”

Grayson came on for Biggar at half-time against Leicester and proceeded to plant a lovely crossfield kick into the hands of Courtnall Skosan for Saints’ try bonus point score.

It was a sign of his self-confidence, but he knows it isn’t always smooth sailing, as showed by the fact one of his passes was picked off by Jack van Poortvliet for a Tigers try.

“It doesn’t always go your way - I threw and intercept as well - so you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth,” said Grayson.

“I feel like I’m potentially turning a corner and maturing in myself and the way I’m viewing the game.

“I’m just trying to enjoy being out there, making sure I’m prepared when the time comes and making sure I enjoy my rugby.”

Grayson will certainly enjoy this weekend more if Saints are able to bounce back from the 55-26 defeat to Tigers.

But he knows how tough it will be at the AJ Bell Stadium, where Saints have won on just four of 12 occasions.

“Sale are pretty similar every time you go and play them,” Grayson said. “They’re a team that pride themselves on their set piece and their defence.

“(Alex) Sanderson’s got a well-oiled machine in terms of how they defend. They come off the line very hard to try to shut your plays down.

“We’ve really got to be prepared to go there, have a proper duel with them and execute our game plan.

“It never changes from them: it’s a gritty place to go and play.

“When they came here last season, it was our best defensive performance. We spoke about the physicality element and about two-man tackles and trying to dominate collisions.

“We’ve got to take it all with us up the road and try to put that physicality out there and pride ourselves on that because we lacked it last weekend.

"It’s time to try to bounce back.”