Saints star Mitchell so honoured to scoop big Premiership prize

"I don't know how I've done it - unless my mum's been voting all the time!"

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:41 pm
Alex Mitchell is the Premiership's player of the month for November
Alex Mitchell is the Premiership's player of the month for November

That was Alex Mitchell' s take on how he won the Gallagher Premiership player of the month award for November.

Mitchell was announced as the winner on Thursday, despite only having played one game for his club during the month.

It was some game though, as the scrum-half set up three tries in Saints' 36-20 win at Bristol Bears.

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Mitchell showed his class with assists for Paul Hill, George Furbank and Tommy Freeman, and he has now played a part in more tries than any player in the Premiership this season, setting up eight and scoring four.

The 24-year-old was asked what it felt like to win the player of the month prize for a single 80 minutes.

"I'm hugely honoured to win that award," Mitchell said.

"I was shocked when I got nominated and now winning it is obviously quite weird but I'm obviously very happy.

"There were only two Premiership games in the month and I only played in one of them because I was away with England..

"I feel like I've been playing well but not to my full potential yet so it's a great sign and hopefully I can push and keep getting better."

Those words will be ominous for opposition teams as Mitchell has been in fine form this season.

"I've been enjoying my rugby," he added.

"I've obviously been getting a lot of game time, which is nice, and getting that consistency of form is a big thing.

"We've got two five-pointers in as many weeks and that's huge for us as a team.

"As long as I get the team to tick on the pitch, that's what I want."

So why does Mitchell feel he has been able to play a part in so many tries during the early stages of the current campaign?

"I think it's the way we try to play rugby, we try to move the ball and play with tempo," he said.

"We score a lot of tries and I'm obviously in the middle of that as the scrum-half.

"We score a lot of tries and we've got a really good attack, with Sam Vesty running it and that's massive."

Mitchell has made a habit of drawing defenders in before offloading to a team-mate for a try.

Saints attack coach Sam Vesty said recently that Mitchell is the best in the Premiership at that aspect of the game.

And Mitchell said: "I try to work on my all-round game.

"There's not one thing I look into much - I just try not to overthink it and to be natural with stuff.

"It's one thing I like to do, to fix defenders and put people away.

"When you've got such good players inside and outside you, it obviously makes things a lot easier.

"Their communication across the board is outstanding and little things like that make a big difference."

Mitchell was away with England during the autumn, making his debut and scoring against Tonga at Twickenham.

And he feels he is learning how to make the transition between club and country much smoother.

"Previously when I've gone away to camps, I've struggled just to get back into the mix of things and that's one thing I'm getting better at," he said.

"I'm coming back, learning the moves and not stop-starting the season is a big thing for me. It's helping my consistency."

Mitchell is now setting his sights on helping Saints take a big scalp on Friday night as Racing 92 come to town for a mouthwatering Champions Cup opener.

He said: "It's very exciting.

"You always want to play in these games.

"We know how good they can be, but we also know how good we can be when we put our game onto the pitch.

"We don't want to focus too much on them even though we know they're such a good side.

"It is weird because there's not many fixtures in the pool stages now (Saints play four) and we know Racing at home is a massive one for us.

"We know if we lose this we're going to be chasing the pack and chasing that top-two spot.

"We know we're going to have to start pretty early."