Saints legend Grayson looking to help NSB claim Twickenham glory
Saints legend Paul Grayson has been passing on his big-match experience to the Northampton School for Boys side who will take to the field at Twickenham on Wednesday (kick-off 2pm).
NSB have made it to English rugby HQ for the second time in three years and will take on St Ambrose College of Altrincham in the Under-18s final of the NatWest Schools Cup Vase competition.
NSB edged out Bloxham School in the semi-final at Allianz Park, winning thanks to scoring the first try of the match in a 20-20 draw.
And now NSB, whose side contains the likes of Jake Diggin, cousin of former Saints wing Paul Diggin, and Connor Tupai, son of ex-Northampton forward Paul Tupai, will look to finish their campaign with a flourish.
Grayson, who kicked Saints to Heineken Cup glory at Twickenham in 2000, is part of the NSB coaching team, and he has been imparting his wisdom on the pupils.
“The main thing that came out of the Vase semi-finals from my point of view was how teams handle the occasion of a big stage,” Grayson said.
“All big grounds – whether it’s Allianz Park where the semi-finals were played or Twickenham – look very comfy and familiar because the players have seen the stadiums on television.
“But it’s another matter when the teams go to such a big stadium. They have to get used to the shape and feel of the place and the teams who can conquer their nerves and settle quicker are likely to succeed.
“No player wants to play poorly on such a day. How many times in a career does a player get a chance to play at Twickenham?
“For some these finals will be the biggest day of their rugby career.
“They’ve been a terrific bunch to be involved with. They’ve never stopped learning and have really improved as the season has gone on.”
Grayson took up his role with NSB two years ago, aiming to repay the school for the education it has given his three children.
“It’s my way of saying thank you to the school for giving my three boys such a good education,” he said.
“The school always delivers over and above and this is my way of helping out.”
NSB squad: Diggin, Dunn, Scholes, Farmer, Pittaway, Stanton, Rowlatt, Salt, Inwood, Britton, Tupai, Holliday, Barry, Arimoro, Johnson, Morgan, Timm, Barlow-Doran, Robinson, Clarke, Wilkins, McCabe, Pinnock-Atfield.