Francis sets his sights on the Saints 10 shirt

Piers Francis wants to play at 10 for Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Piers Francis wants to play at 10 for Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Piers Francis has stressed he has moved to Saints to secure the No.10 shirt.

Francis often strutted his stuff at inside centre for former club the Blues in Super Rugby.

And he also won his first two England caps at 12 during the summer, performing well on the two-Test tour in Argentina.

But Francis doesn’t see himself as a regular 12, instead insisting that he wants to line up at fly-half for Saints this season.

“I’m a 10,” Francis said. “I’ve always played 10.

“In my first season at the Blues I had a lot of exposure at 12, which was great and I thoroughly enjoyed myself there.

“As it happens, the couple of England caps I have had have been at 12 and that’s great for me personally and for a coach who is looking for a player who has got abilities in a couple of positions.

“I believe I’m a 10 and that’s where I’d like to play, but 12 is a position I’m now comfortable with and I’ve played internationally and at Super Rugby in that position.

“I feel I’m well adapted and I’m looking forward to competing for the 10 jersey.”

But if he is to earn the Saints No.10 shirt, Francis will have to usurp current incumbent Stephen Myler.

Myler, who is currently recovering from a knee injury, is second in Saints’ all-time points scorers’ list and propelled the club to Aviva Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup glory in 2014.

Francis, who made his first appearance in the 71-21 pre-season victory against the Dragons at Franklin’s Gardens, has got on well with Myler so far.

And he said: “Stephen’s a really nice guy and it’s not a case of anything other than that.

“Competition in the squad is realy healthy for me and for the squad as a collective.

“It’s not an individual sport and there’s going to be competition in every position at big clubs like Northampton, but half the reason you get up every day is to challenge yourself.

“Stephen’s a great player so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”