Saints are now so blessed at half-back

As half-back situations go, the one at Saints couldn’t be much healthier.

James Grayson (left) and Alex Mitchell have formed a fine partnership at Saints
James Grayson (left) and Alex Mitchell have formed a fine partnership at Saints

Because not only do they currently possess two players who many would consider world class, but they also have two who could claim that tag in future snapping at their heels.

Cobus Reinach and Dan Biggar have been exceptional in the black, green and gold this season, steering the side to several impressive successes.

But they are not allowed to rest easy at any point, with Alex Mitchell and James Grayson emerging in recent times.

Mitchell and Grayson have formed an understanding thanks to their time in the Wanderers side, which has won back-to-back A League titles and is currently on the march for a third crown in succession.

They have taken their second-string form into the first team, showing that they could both potentially play for England in the years to come.

And last Saturday, they again displayed not only their ability, but the character and composure that every all-round player needs.

Mitchell came off the bench with six minutes to go and proceeded to score a dramatic late try, dummying on two occasions as he surged into space and over the line from close to halfway.

Saints have seasoned internationals Dan Biggar and Cobus Reinach in their ranks

It was then up to Grayson to finish the job as the fly-half landed a nerveless conversion that was far from easy to secure a crucial 20-19 victory against top-four rivals Harlequins at the Stoop.

It was yet another illustration of what Saints’ hugely talented young half-back duo are capable of.

And Mitchell never questioned Grayson’s ability to get the game won.

“No doubt there,” Mitchell said.

“He bangs them over all week in training so I had a lot of confidence he’d do it at the end.

“That’s why I made it a bit trickier for him!

“He would have got a lot of stick if he’d missed it - I’ve had got stuck into him especially - but fair play to him.”

Mitchell is not 22 until next month, while Grayson, who was man of the match in the Premiership Rugby Cup final victory against Saracens in February and was the competition’s breakthrough player of the year, doesn’t turn 21 until June.

They are part of a massively talented group of young players at the Gardens.

And Mitchell said: “We’ve got a good young group of lads and the coaches are giving us great confidence.

“If we can push on as a young group and perform well, it’s great for the club.

“(Attack coach) Sam Vesty has been great because he gives us licence to play how we want to play.

“When we see space we can adapt our game and we’re all natural players.

“It’s great for all the young guys.”

Saints’ youngsters have shown no fear this season, and they won’t be daunted by clashes with Newcastle, Worcester and Exeter in the final three matches.

They are currently four points behind fourth-placed Harlequins in the race to reach the play-offs.

And Maidstone-born Mitchell, who joined the Saints Academy from Sale’s youth setup in 2015, said: “It’s massive for us.

“Our goal is to get into that top four so to take points away from Quins and for us to get four points is massive.

“We’re four points off now so the last three games of the season are going to be massive and we’ll try to get the maximum amount of points from those matches.”