Man of the moment Hutchinson shrugged off other interest to stay at Saints

Rory Hutchinson has revealed he rejected offers from elsewhere before committing his future to Saints.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 7:00 am
Rory Hutchinson in training at Saints this week

The talented centre was a player in demand after delivering a string of superb showings since breaking into the first team under Chris Boyd this season.

Hutchinson's impressive run of form started with a man of the match display against Timisoara Saracens at Franklin's Gardens on January 18.

He backed that up with another star man performance against Leicester Tigers on the following weekend - and he hasn't looked back since.

The 23-year-old was the Gallagher Premiership player of the month for February, and he was attracting plenty of admirers with his contract set to run out this summer.

But Saints acted quickly and have managed to tie Hutchinson to a new deal, with the player putting pen to paper earlier this month.

"I'm not going to lie - I did have some interest (before signing the contract)," Hutchinson said.

"I didn't really know what was happening but I'm really happy at Northampton. They've stuck with me and I love it here.

"It's all I've known since I left school and I've really enjoyed my time here.

"I want it to continue.

"Chris (Boyd) is massive on performance - if people are playing well, you're going to play.

"In the past you had your key players (who always got picked), it's not really like that any more.

"The best players will play so it lets everyone have a bit more faith and really want to perform."

Hutchinson has made nine starts so far this season, having only previously made a total of nine in his three campaigns before that.

He has become a key member of the first-team, with his dazzling display during the win at Leicester Tigers last weekend another example of his undoubted quality.

"It's been really good fun, I've been really enjoying my rugby and it's just nice to have the opportunity," said Hutchinson.

"I started off in the European stuff then into the cup and it's been great to string some games together and to get some consistent rugby.

"I have had injuries over the years but it's just part of the game.

"It's been great to get a run of games recently and we're going well at the moment so I'm enjoying it."

Hutchinson is clearly flourishing under the current coaching staff.

And he said: "Sam (Vesty) has come in (as attack coach) and done a great job with Chris, and Alan (Dickens) has been helping me defensively.

"I think we've played a smarter game with our decision making and doing the basics.

"A lot of people will happily kick the ball into touch but we're looking to play expansive rugby so it's fitting me very well.

"I like to get my hands on the ball and if I don't it's a bit of a quiet game for me.

"When you've got wingers like big T (Taqele Naiyaravoro) and Tom Collins you want to get them the ball because they've shown what they can do."

Hutchinson is one of several Academy graduates who have shone this season.

"It's nice to see the young boys doing so well," he said.

"We've got such a good group of young lads and it just shows that when we get the opportunity, we take it.

"It probably spurred me on to try even harder and luckily it's paid off."

Hutchinson may have only made 30 appearances for Saints so far, but he appears to have the ability to play on the biggest stage.

Born in Cambridge, he has represented Scotland at youth level, and he knows who he wants to represent in the international arena if given the chance.

"I've come up through the age groups of Scotland and I don't know where I'd be without Scottish Exiles, Scotland Under-18s and Under-20s," he said.

"I played a lot of my rugby for them when I wasn't getting much game time here in my younger days so I'd like to play for Scotland."

But Hutchinson is not ready to get carried away, as shown by the fact his performances have not dipped since he claimed the Premiership player of the month prize.

"I felt very humbled to receive it and it's just nice to get some recognition," he said.

"I'm going to keep my head down and finish the season well."

And the next mission for Hutchinson is Sunday's huge Challenge Cup quarter-final at Clermont Auvergne.

"You've got to respect Clermont because they're a very dangerous team," he said.

"The game we played there in January was very close but we just felt our defence let us down.

"We're really looking forward to the challenge.

"We know they're a big, physical team but we've shown we can score lots of points against them like we did at their place (in the 48-40 defeat in January).

"We're really looking forward to playing there because it's going to be a great atmosphere."