Former Tigers hooker Clare is loving life as a Saint

Charlie Clare (left) is loving life at Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Charlie Clare (left) is loving life at Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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He may have come through the Leicester Tigers Academy, but Charlie Clare is now all about Northampton Saints.

The hooker moved to Saints from Bedford Blues during the summer and has already had plenty of first-team chances, due to Dylan Hartley’s back injury.

Clare has made five appearances as a replacement this season, with his debut coming on the opening day of the season, against Bath.

And his transition to life at Franklin’s Gardens was made a bit easier by the fact that he knew some of the Saints players after facing them during his time in the Tigers Academy.

“I was actually at Leicester Academy so I played a lot against the likes of Ethan Waller, Jamie Elliott, Ben Nutley - that sort of age group,” the 24-year-old said.

And when asked whether he gets banter for his Tigers connection, he laughed and said: “I still think it’s quite under wraps.

“I’m not sure too many people know the full extent of it so I haven’t had too much banter about it, which is good.

“The cat’s out of the bag now, maybe!”

So how is it having joined Saints, having been brought up to dislike them?

“It can be quite strange being on the other side of it, but it’s been awesome since I’ve been here,” Clare said.

“You almost forget about it completely and there’s others who have come from Leicester - I’m not the only one.”

Clare has the ideal learning opportunity at Saints, with the two players ahead of him in the pecking order among the best hookers in England.

And on Hartley and Mike Haywood, the Norwich-born player said: “They’ve been really helpful.

“If there’s anything I’m unsure of, they’re right in to try to help me out, so it’s really good.

“I’ve really enjoyed it here.

“It’s been a bit of a steep learning curve but once I found my feet, I really enjoyed it.

“The training is top notch and it’s a great place to come and thrive.”