Hutchinson has become a player in demand at Saints
Rory Hutchinson was a young man in demand at this week’s Saints media day.
The 23-year-old’s emergence has somewhat mirrored the development of his team this season and, in particular, in this calendar year.
Hutchinson suffered an injury during pre-season but he returned to action in December and since January, he has not looked back, producing a string of sublime showings.
Not only has he captured the attention of those inside the corridors of Franklin’s Gardens, but he is now attracting admiring glances from much further afield.
He has received a string of award nominations, including for RPA young player of the year and Premiership breakthrough player.
He won the Premiership’s monthly prize in February and was recently named in Scotland’s World Cup training squad by Gregor Townsend, who was at the Gardens to watch Hutchinson impress against Worcester Warriors a couple of weeks ago.
It has been a whirlwind few months for the centre, who signed a new deal in March.
But, typical of his laid-back character, he is taking all of the recognition, and the media interviews, in his stride.
“It’s been pretty good fun actually - I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Hutchinson, looking back on the season so far.
“It could have gone completely the other way but luckily it hasn’t.
“I’m just looking forward to finishing off the season with Northampton, hopefully with three big games.”
Hutchinson could be key as Saints look to beat Exeter on Saturday and book their place in a Premiership play-off semi-final a week later.
He has scored five tries in 15 appearances so far this season.
And he said: “When I started playing earlier this season, I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity to play in these sorts of games.
“We’ve been in a final for the Premiership Cup, a quarter-final in Europe and I’m really enjoying all of these experiences.”
And he’s also enjoying the awards dinners...
“It was a nice dinner at the RPA!,” said Hutchinson, who missed out on the young player of the year award to Gloucester wing Ollie Thorley.
“It’s nice to know people have been backing me but the team comes first so I don’t need to worry about the awards.
“This season had been hard because when you get injured you have your ups and downs.
“I was fighting for a contract and kind of had to give it everything. If I did that and I wasn’t in this situation, I’d have put my hands up and said ‘fair play, I gave it my best’, but luckily I’ve just been in the right areas at the right time.
“Things have gone quite smoothly.”
That is putting is modestly, with Hutchinson having taken to life in this Saints side like a duck to water.
The player, like his team, has been playing with a swagger, earning three successive league away wins.
And he said: “It’s belief and we’re starting to click.
“There’s always been belief this season - when we’ve had poor games we’ve turned it around and the calibre of player we’ve got here is brilliant.
“We might not have the biggest pack but we can definitely move the ball around.”
Hutchinson can look forward to linking up with Scotland this summer. And he said: “I’m delighted to be called up.
“I’ve spoken to Gregor and I’m really excited to join up with the boys.
“I’ll be back with some old Under-20s mates so I’m excited to get stuck in but I can’t think too much about it because we’ve got a really important finish here at Northampton.”