Saints coach Dickens salutes new boy Kessell

Tom Kessell has already shown promise at Saints (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Tom Kessell has already shown promise at Saints (picture: Sharon Lucey)

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Alan Dickens has hailed the early impact new scrum-half Tom Kessell has made at Saints.

The former Cornish Pirates and Bristol player has played a part in both pre-season friendlies.

He attracted praise from attack coach Alex King after coming off the bench in the 36-17 win at Saracens before setting up the winning try for Tom Collins at Wasps last Sunday.

And Saints assistant coach Dickens, who was a scrum-half during his playing days, has been impressed with Kessell so far.

“He’s been really good,” Dickens said. “You saw on Sunday, the ball was there, we cleared the tackle area and he’s away to set up the try.

“He’s a quality passer and he’ll add to the squad this season.

“He’s good and he was the best scrum-half in the Championship.

“He’s come to us and he wants to improve his game. Hopefully he’ll do that here.”

Kessell will compete with captain Lee Dickson and Samoa No.9 Kahn Fotuali’i for a starting spot at Saints this season.

It is just one of a number of departments in which Northampton can call on a number of different options.

And when asked about likely selection dilemmas, Dickens said: “It’s something as a management team that we’ll have to look at and see where the players are at when they come back (from the World Cup).

“It is great, but equally for the boys who are coming back, they’ll have an element of disappointment because they’re coming home early.”