Northampton Saint Long happy with short stint

Northampton Saint Andy Long played the first 40 minutes of his Northampton career last night, and said he was happy to get out on the field in the black, green and gold.


The hooker, capped twice by England, joined the Saints a month ago, and after four weeks’ training he was able to show what he can do in last night’s ‘A’ League win over Leeds Carnegie.


“I was gagging to get on the field in the second half,” he said. “I really enjoyed it. I tried to get as involved as I could and touch the ball as often as I could. I’ve been training for the last four weeks and wanted to show what I can do and hopefully I gave it a good shot.


“You’ve got guys here who are established and playing well so the competition at the club is fantastic. I throw my name in the hat each week to play. I don’t think I’m registered in Europe so the Wanderers gives me a chance to show what I can do for after Christmas.


“That’s what I’m here to do. When I joined the club I really wanted to make it clear I’m not here to make up the numbers. I’m here to compete and hopefully I can show that.”


Long started the season at Cetransa El Salvador, in Valladolid, where he had moved after five years at Newcastle Falcons. He said that the time in Spain gave him the chance to reconnect with his love of rugby.


“I didn’t have a club to go to and had a friend out there,” Long said.


“I went over there and had a nice pre-season in the warm! I played about seven or eight 80-minute games, which kept my match fitness up. I had a get-out clause in case anything came up in the Premiership or it could have lasted longer.


“I enjoyed it. It was good and allowed me to fall back in love with rugby but I knew I wanted to play at the highest level again. To get the opportunity at Northampton was what I was looking for. Fortunately it came up and I really intend on grasping it with both hands.”


Long said that the standard of Spanish rugby might surprise one or two people.


“It’s what you make of it,” he added. “It’s not the greatest standard, but there are a few foreigners out there and they do compete. There are Argentinians and Italians and French players.


“It’s not as easy as it might seem and it’s certainly not as easy because you don’t have the luxury of all the facilities you have here and it’s not the Premiership. For me it was great to get back to grass-roots rugby. I also did some coaching, and it was a stepping stone towards the next chapter of my career.”


The Wanderers are next in action on Monday, December 14th, when they play Newcastle Falcons in the ‘A’ League at Franklin’s Gardens. Entry is free for all season ticket holders.

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