The James Grayson Blog

It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog, and a few things have happened. Northampton beat London Irish at home, England beat Wales at Twickenham and the U20’s beat Wales at Kingston Park in Newcastle – all around a very positive weekend! That was two weeks ago… the tide shifted a little bit this weekend. It began with the U20’s on a bitter Friday night against Scotland at Myreside Edinburgh.

We had prepared all week for a cold evening and Scotland didn’t disappoint. I was on the bench for the game, wrapped up nice and warm, ready to take my chance should it come. We started the game quite slowly, but gradually worked our way up the field. 2 brilliant tries before half time meant we led 17-3. Not a bad way to end the first half. We came out into the second half playing into a stiff breeze; which Scotland used excellently to their advantage. They pinned the corners and pushed us back, making us play deep. They made sure to capitalise on any mistake we made and before we knew it, we found ourselves 24-17 behind. The Scottish fans got their backs up and kept us under pressure until the final whistle. I had 3 minutes at full back – which was very disappointing. It was not the greatest game ever. Unfortunately this set the tone for the weekend, as the senior side also lost at Murryfield on Saturday afternoon. It was not a great weekend for the English up in Edinburgh. As a squad we will come back together next week and regroup in preparation for the France game away in France. They don’t get much tougher than that, so we must get our preparation spot on.

The Saints travelled down to the home of the champions: sunny Exeter. Sunny it may have been, but the wind whipping in off of the estuary made conditions harsh. We started the game brightly and scored a couple of excellent long range tries. Going into half time, the boys where confident that we could hold onto the lead. In the second half the breeze got stronger, making it harder to kick into. This meant that we had to try and run it out of our own half. Exeter scored with about 5 minutes to go, making it a six point game with us leading. They then, as true champions do, had one last shot to take the win. They kicked deep into our 22 and got their infamous driving maul going. If you know premiership rugby, you’ll know how good Exeter are when they get into the 22; they work the posts and more often than not score a try through the forwards. They did just that. A try under the posts and the easiest of extras for their fly half meant we left Sandy Park with a whole lot of positives, but sadly no win. This weekend we will welcome Sale Sharks to Franklins Gardens, having played them twice before, winning one and losing one. It should be a brilliant game for the spectators. Hope to see you there supporting the boys.