Prolific Sleightholme found perfect blend during stunning season with Saints

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Ollie Sleightholme feels he found the perfect blend of power and pace during his sensational title-winning season at Saints.

The 24-year-old was the Gallagher Premiership's top try scorer, notching 15, which was five more than any other player.

Sleightholme was Saints Supporters Club player of the year in a campaign that catapulted him into the England squad.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He will now look to win his first Red Rose cap during the Summer Series, which will see Steve Borthwick's side take on Japan and New Zealand in the coming weeks.

Ollie Sleightholme (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Ollie Sleightholme (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ollie Sleightholme (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

And Sleightholme feels his game is in a good place thanks to being able to work out what his ideal weight was.

“There’s a fine line between being too big and being in a good spot,” Sleightholme said.

“At the start of the season I was a bit too bulked up and it was during the season that I found where I needed to sit with my body and then I got into a rhythm after that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I had put on eight kilos – I went from 90 kilos to 98 kilos in four-and-a-half or five weeks. It was just loads of gym and loads of eating, basically.

“I got to the end of it and the strength and conditioning coaches said ‘well done for doing it’, and I was like ‘I can’t play this heavy, it’s not going to work’.

“The turning is the difficult bit. When you’re a bit heavier, turning and moving and changing direction is when you feel it.

“Running in a straight line isn’t too bad because once the weight’s moving, it’s moving. But changing direction and reacting to stuff was difficult when I was heavier.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“So it became a case of starting to get back into training and it all sort of drops off as you start training and playing.

“I’m now somewhere around 92 kilos, so just a couple of kilos heavier than where I was. A weight of 92/93 is probably where I want to be.”

England skipper Jamie George says Sleightholme’s pace is ‘scary', but the Saints star's speed training requires the same nuanced approach as adding muscle to his frame.

“It’s difficult to find the balance because I’ve got the balance wrong plenty of times in previous years and it’s ended up in injuries,” Sleightholme said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s about keeping yourself fit and keeping yourself on the pitch. If it’s a case of trying to do a speed session, or being fit, pick being fit.

“It’s a case of trying to get the training in when your body feels right but definitely prioritise staying on the pitch over anything else.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.