Smith so happy with his first year at Saints

Fin Smith admits he could never have imagined that his first year at Saints would have gone as well as it has.
Fin Smith trained with England last season (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Fin Smith trained with England last season (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Fin Smith trained with England last season (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It was October 10 last year when Saints announced that they had signed Smith with immediate effect following the sad demise of Worcester Warriors.

Dan Biggar left the black, green and gold almost a month later, opening up plenty of starting chances.

And Smith took them with both hands, making 16 appearances last season, all of which were in the 10 shirt.

"I was sort of hoping maybe this season I'd have a pre-season and then start to get a few games under my belt but the way it happened last year, with Biggs leaving and Jimmy (Grayson) having a few injuries, it gave me an opportunity and I feel like I managed to take that fairly well," Smith said.

"I obviously feel like I've still got a lot to give but from where I was to where I am now, I couldn't have imagined it to have gone this well.

"I'm really happy with how the past eight to 10 months has gone."

He added: "I came and then was pretty much straight in the deep end, but I wouldn't want it any other way and I've absolutely loved my time here so far.

"The players, the coaches, the fans here, every chance I had to run out at the Gardens last year - I really enjoyed it.

"Northampton is definitely my new home now so I'm loving my time here so far.

"I just feel like I'm allowed to be me here on and off the pitch.

"With the characters we've got here, there's no cliques, no judgement, everyone is being themselves and if you're happy off the pitch then you probably get the best out of yourself when you're on it.

"Obviously the style we play here suits the way I try to play so that's probably been a factor as well."

Smith was so impressive for Saints that he was called up to England camps last season.

And he was able to take plenty from the experiences with the Red Rose.

"It's two very different styles," said the 21-year-old.

"England try to apply a lot of pressure through their kicking game and while it's not something that would massively suit our strength here as a club, there's things I can bring back in terms of having a real fight in defence and maybe just at times how we could have managed the game better at times last season.

"Maybe instead of trying to run the ball to space, we could have kicked the ball and put pressure back on to teams.

"It's about trying to have that balance so that the team here can play as well as they can and hopefully as a result of that I'll have some good individual performances as well."

Smith was back in action last Saturday as he started in the 39-38 defeat to Bristol Bears in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

And he was delighted to see the end of pre-season preparations.

"You've got to keep your head down and try not to moan too much!" Smith said.

"The post-training coffees and complain and moan sessions in the Crooked Hooker have probably helped us get through a little bit.

"But it's here now, the hard work is done and I'm thankful to be getting some games under my belt."