Excitement building at Saints as new season edges ever closer

Chris Boyd will arrive at Saints on a full-time basis in August (picture: Steve Haag)
Chris Boyd will arrive at Saints on a full-time basis in August (picture: Steve Haag)

Saints CEO Mark Darbon says there is a 'real buzz' around Franklin's Gardens as the new season edges ever closer.

A new era has begun at Franklin's Gardens with a new-look coaching squad and playing group gearing up for the Gallagher Premiership opener at Gloucester on September 1.

Before that, Saints will face the Ospreys, Dragons and Glasgow Warriors in pre-season as they start life under new boss Chris Boyd.

The Kiwi coach will arrive following the conclusion of his commitments with Super Rugby side the Hurricanes, who are in quarter-final action at home to the Chiefs this weekend.

And Saints can't wait to get Boyd in on a permanent basis, having sampled his work during the formative stages of their pre-season training schedule.

"We're counting down the days until Chris Boyd arrives," Darbon said. "He was over here at the start of pre-season and he's obviously in very regular contact with us on pretty much a daily basis.

"He will be here at the start of August.

"We're still waiting for a couple of players to come back, who have been on international duty. Piers Francis isn't back yet, (Ahsee) Tuala has just played for Samoa so he'll be back shortly as well.

"But most of the boys are back in training and there's a really good feeling about pre-season.

"There's been a lot of change but the new guys, both players and coaches, are integrating really nicely.

"There is a real buzz around the place and there's a real optimism about what's to come.

"The real positive so far is that the new faces, both coaches and players, are settling in really well.

"We've had lots of good feedback from the players on the impact of the new coaches and lots of positive feedback from the coaches about the squad and the group we've got to work with.

"There's a real palpable sense of excitement and optimism and a desire to get going.

"We're probably not alone because we've been through some change, but it's pre-season and no one's been dropped yet, we haven't lost any matches so you've got to take all that emotion with a pinch of salt.

"But there is definitely an overriding feeling of excitement for what's ahead."