All Blacks ace Proctor already making a name for himself at Saints

He may not know the names of all of his team-mates yet, but the fans at Franklin's Gardens certainly know his now.

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 1:16 am
Updated Monday, 2nd December 2019, 1:16 am
Matt Proctor scored twice on his Premiership debut

Matt Proctor enjoyed the dream Gallagher Premiership debut as a Saints player, scoring twice in a 36-13 derby-day success against Leicester Tigers last Saturday.

The All Blacks centre, who has one international cap to his name, was full of cut and thrust as he tore Tigers apart.

Proctor made nine carries, beat nine defenders and ran 142 metres in a stunning individual showing against his new club's old foes.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It was an incredible performance, especially when you consider he only arrived at Saints at the start of last month.

"He's a class player and he played really well," said Saints boss Chris Boyd, who has coached Proctor since the player's New Zealand Under-20s days.

"He got two tries but the work he does off the ball both defensively and offensively is excellent.

"He'll only get better as he settles in.

"He's played at home with the same guys for lots of years so everything's new for him here and he's still trying to remember everyone's names.

"But he's a good footballer."

For Proctor's part, it was clear how much the Gardens atmosphere spurred him on.

And the former Hurricanes star admits it was like little he has experienced before.

"Everyone's been telling me about this game since I arrived and it was an awesome atmosphere," Proctor said.

"The local support here is unbelievable and they definitely give the boys another gear so we're very thankful for that.

"It's definitely up there in terms of the games I've played.

"The stadiums back at home aren't quite the same because the fans aren't as passionate so it was definitely an awesome experience."

At 27, Proctor has his best years still ahead of him.

And he looks right at home alongside Saints' array of skillful backline stars.

"I was fortunate enough to be in positions where guys could set me up last Saturday," said Proctor, who made his debut a few weeks ago in the Champions Cup clash with Lyon.

"When we're going forward and when our backline is playing with the confidence we did last Saturday, it's good to be part of.

"We drill our skillset a lot in training and the players have bought into it big time.

"We like to throw the ball around and it's not too different to back home.

"It was a lot faster than I was expecting so I was pretty gassed, even going into half-time."

Proctor has now been victorious in each of his three matches as a Saints player.

But he knows that fine start will be tested to the maximum when Leinster come calling at the Gardens on Saturday.

"Leinster have got a rich history and I actually know a couple of the boys there so it will be good to see some familiar faces out there this week," he said.

If Proctor does get the nod again this week, Saints will hope for more heroics from their big summer signing.

The signs are certainly promising, especially as he is still acclimatising to life in Northampton.

"It does take time to learn, getting to know how players around you work and how you can run off them," said Proctor, who has moved into the former residence of Heinrich Brüssow.

"It's definitely a learning process but I'm enjoying it at the same time and that makes it a lot easier."