Hutchinson ready to shine again at Saints after 'letting it slip'
Rory Hutchinson would rather not talk too much about the last time Saints faced Gloucester.
And that is completely understandable, because what happened on Saturday, May 8 of this year is something everyone of a black, green and gold persuasion will want to forget.
Saints endured an absolute shocker, suffering a 31-7 defeat to the Cherry and Whites, during which Chris Boyd’s side got nothing going at Franklin’s Gardens.
But after bouncing back with some better displays in the final few fixtures of the previous campaign, Saints, and Hutchinson, will hope for a much better showing this weekend.
“For us, we just didn’t turn up in any areas of the game,” said Hutchinson, reflecting on that most recent Gloucester match-up.
“We’re not proud of that and we don’t like to talk about it that much.
“We’re looking forward to being able to put things right this weekend.
“First of all, it’s the first game of the season and we want to start well and get points to try to get up the table.
“Also, we’re looking forward to playing against Gloucester and hopefully a good friend of mine, Adam Hastings, will be playing so I’m looking forward to seeing him back in the Premiership.
“For us, the win is the only thing that matters.”
A strong showing wouldn’t go amiss for Hutchinson in the process though.
The 25-year-old is desperate to pick up where he left off last season, when his performances in the final few matches propelled him back into the Scotland picture.
Hutchinson was a sensation after breaking through at Saints but he admits his form tailed off, along with his international aspirations.
“It was a bit of an up and down season, I showed glimpses of what I could do,” Hutchinson said.
“I wasn’t good enough for the international stuff and I kind of knew that I wasn’t right there.
“But I showed what I could do by getting the late call-up so for me, I just want this to be a fluid season and get to where we were when we were winning that Prem Cup and we were doing well in Europe.
“We all enjoyed it then.
“It’s not enjoyable losing games and coming in on Monday not in the same spirit as a win.
“We want to make those memories and make sure we’re not looking back thinking it was a missed opportunity because we’ve got a really good squad.”
When he’s at his flowing best, Hutchinson puts on a real show.
And it is clear that he missed entertaining supporters, who couldn’t attend matches due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“I don’t want to put it (form) on anything, but you speak to most people and it was a challenge without crowds, getting up for games and stuff,” Hutchinson said.
“I wouldn’t say I’m playing better because of crowds but I want to get to the top and be back competing for international spots.
“I got a sniff of it but I let it slip a little bit so I don’t want excuses now, I want to get back in the fold there because that’s when I was playing my best and most enjoyable rugby as well.”
Hutchinson continues to work hard on ensuring his defending is as impressive as his attacking, and he has shown signs of improvement with some big hits.
“It was definitely a work-on for me and it needs to be a work-on for me to play at the top level,” he said.
“I’ve worked closely with Vassy and Dows here at Saints especially about the breakdown stuff, and I’m getting feedback from Steve Tandy and Gregor (Townsend).
“I do think it’s on the up and it needs to be a non-negotiable - it’s half the game right there.
“I feel like I’m getting better but it’s about that consistency now because if I want to get to the next level, that’s got to be the bread and butter.”