Saints scrum-half Groom raring to go after honeymoon period
Having seen his honeymoon period at Saints come to a crushing end, Nic Groom knows his wedding probably came at the right time.
At the start of November, the South African scrum-half headed back to South Africa to marry his long-time partner Erin.
He didn’t get the best send off as his most recent Saints appearance before the big day came at Castres, where he started in a humbling 41-7 defeat.
It was a horrible afternoon for everyone of a Northampton persuasion and for Groom, who was starting for the fifth successive game, it put a dampner on the strong start he had made to life at Saints after joining the club from Super Rugby side Stormers.
So his wedding and honeymoon provided the perfect respite from the rigours of English rugby.
When he moved to Franklin’s Gardens, Groom had agreed with the management staff that he would get the time off to get married.
And the timing was perfect for the player and club, who were set to embark on the start of their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign while the 26-year-old was away.
“I came straight from Super Rugby and I didn’t have much time off, so I’ve got nothing but praise for the club in how we dealt with the whole break and all that,” Groom said.
“As a player I feel really refreshed and really happy to be here so I’m stoked.
“It’s very nice to set up home here with my wife. We’ve known each other for ages and we decided to get married, so it’s good times.
“The Shire is now my home and although the cold is something I’m still getting used to, it’s not that bad and I’m enjoying myself here.
“This is home now and it’s a special place for us.”
While Groom was away with his bride, Tom Kessell stepped up and took on the No.9 shirt at Saints.
And Groom said: “He’s an excellent player and I think he’s done really well.
“I’ve said before that the three of us, Lee (Dickson), Tom and myself, have different strengths and are constantly feeding off each other.
“It’s a good sign that when people are playing they’re performing and I’m sure Tom is really happy.
“He’s done great things for the team and is playing really well.”
Kessell and Groom will scrap it out for the No.9 shirt this week.
And neither of them will need telling just how important the game they will be playing in is.
Saints are currently bottom of Champions Cup Pool 4 with four points to their name, but they are only two points off table-toppers Leinster after two games.
And Groom said: “We’re buzzing.
“We’re disappointed after last week (the 19-11 defeat at Leicester), but there’s been some really good energy from the boys coming back from internationals.
“The Samoans, Fijians and England boys have brought a wealth of energy so in a lot of ways a new tournament is a new chance for us.
“Friday night here at Franklin’s Gardens is something we’re really looking forward to.”
Groom has never played against Leinster, but with his South African wife having plenty of family from Northern Ireland, he is not totally distant from the opposition.
“My wife’s actually got Irish heritage, her family is from Belfast,” he explained.
“She’s born in Cape Town, but most of her mum’s side of the family are from Northern Ireland.
“What you get when you’re talking about the Leinsters and the Munsters is a really passionate bunch.
“They will be buzzing and for us to expect anything less than their best would be silly on our part.
“I’ve never played against an Irish side before, but from what I know, Leinster are a powerhouse in rugby.
“I know they will have a lot of players who are coming fresh from the Irish side and have been tested at the highest level, playing really well, so no doubt they will be confident.
“They will be riding high and, if anything, it just increases the desire for us to put in a really big performance.”
Last Saturday’s defeat at Leicester Tigers was tough to take for Saints fans as they again failed to enjoy the bragging rights against their local rivals.
And having also endured some disappointing displays at the Gardens this season, the supporters will expect a response from their side in what is a gargantuan game.
“Everyone I speak to about Northampton and the town, they always mention the crowds you get here and the passionate fans,” Groom said.
“We definitely feel like we owe our supporters, who come here week in, week out, and that’s a big motivation of ours.”