Saints to add five talented youngsters to Senior Academy

Saints will add five youngsters to the Senior Academy ahead of next season
Saints will add five youngsters to the Senior Academy ahead of next season

Saints have announced that five youngsters are set to join the club’s Senior Academy set-up ahead of next season.

Forwards Jack Hughes and Emmanuel Iyogun have put pen to paper on their first full-time contracts after impressing as a part of the Junior Academy this season.

Backs Ollie Newman, Josh Gillespie and Tommy Freeman will also graduate from the Under-18s side and join the Senior Academy over the summer.

And with a number of Academy graduates such as James Grayson, Alex Mitchell, Fraser Dingwall and George Furbank – among others – breaking into the first-team ranks this season, Academy manager Simon Sinclair is also delighted with this year’s intake.

“We’re really excited to be welcoming five guys into the Senior Academy for next year,” Sinclair said.

“This season we’ve had an opportunity to see lots of players within our environment and it’s all about developing individuals for us, supporting them on and off the field and giving them the best possible experience.

“Every time you see an Academy product make their debut in the first team it’s a proud moment for Mark Hopley, myself, and everyone who works within our Academy group.

“We’ve seen a host of guys make their Premiership debuts this season, and it makes our job just that much easier when the guys are coming in and they know they are going to get opportunities within the first-team environment if they are good enough.”

Gillespie has already featured for the first team this season, coming off the bench against Wasps in the Premiership Rugby Cup clash at the Ricoh Arena after also playing in the Premiership Rugby 7s last summer.

But Sinclair believes Saints supporters should be excited about all five new recruits, with their talent evident throughout the Under-18s campaign.

He said: “Jack Hughes is an excellent prop already; he’s 6ft 2in, really elusive around the park and keen to work hard on his scrummaging.

“Manny Iyogun has been playing at No.8 for us in the Under-18s and is a big, ball-carrying lad, and we’re keen to transition him into the front row – a bit like we did with Toby Trinder a few years ago.

“Ollie Newman hasn’t played much this year as he’s had a shoulder injury, but we have really high hopes for him as he’s quick off the base and cuts some lovely lines.

“A few Saints supporters will have seen Josh Gillespie play already in the cup side and at the sevens last summer. He’s quick and powerful and we hope will become a top-quality winger, although he’s played for us a bit at outside centre.

“And then Tommy Freeman has come from slightly off the radar; he’s at Moulton College and we picked him up midway through this year. He’s a great footballer, so we’re looking forward to seeing him involved.”

Saints Academy manager Simon Sinclair has high hopes for the five youngsters

Saints Academy manager Simon Sinclair has high hopes for the five youngsters