Saints boss Boyd discusses 'special' first meeting with departing star Burrell

Luther Burrell is leaving Saints this summer
Luther Burrell is leaving Saints this summer

Chris Boyd looked back on his 'special' first meeting with Luther Burrell after the centre played his final game at Franklin's Gardens last weekend.

Burrell, who has racked up 165 Saints appearances so far, will be moving to rugby league side Warrington Wolves when the season ends.

The 31-year-old scored at the Gardens last Saturday, helping play-off chasing Saints to secure a crucial 38-10 Gallagher Premiership win against Worcester Warriors.

An emotional leaving ceremony followed the match, with fans given the chance to wave goodbye to the players who will be exiting Saints this summer.

Burrell is one of those, and he showed his emotion as he spoke to the crowd after being presented with a shirt.

Boyd later talked to the media and gave his reflections on Burrell's stay at the Saints, which has spanned almost seven years.

"My first introduction to Luther was pretty special for me," said Boyd, who moved to Northampton from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes last summer.

"I'd agreed to come here on two breaks from Super Rugby, one in March and one in April, and it was a really testing time for the team last year.

"They'd lost their head coach (Jim Mallinder), they had an interim coach (Alan Gaffney) in place, they weren't playing particularly well and I was feeling a bit anxious about poking my head into the Gardens when it wasn't my turn to have an influence on the team.

"But when I came up in March, the first guy that walked up to me, shook my hand and said 'I hope you enjoy your time here' was Luther Burrell - and that's the sort of man he is.

"We had a quiet chat together and hoped that Luther would get what he wanted out of this season.

"By his own standards, he'd dropped into a little bit of a hole and he wasn't playing particularly well.

"But (his enjoyment of) this season was summed up by the elation he showed when he shot through and scored that first try (against Worcester). It was Julius Caeser stuff really, wasn't it?"

Boyd has also enjoyed working with Ken Pisi, who is another player exiting Saints at the end of the season.

The Samoan wing, who, like Burrell, joined Saints in 2012, came off the bench to make his 139th appearance for Northampton last weekend.

"Kenny Pisi has been here seven years and he's not sure if he's going to Japan or going home so it's a big transition for him," Boyd said.

"But that's one of the really tough things about professional sport - he's done a fantastic job at the Gardens, but we've got some young guys coming through and that transition is just part of professional sport."