Saints star Freeman reflects on his fantastic year

When looking at who shone the most for Saints in 2022, Tommy Freeman would be near the top of the list.
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In fact, he may even top it, so good has the England star been.

Freeman notched up 15 tries in just 16 starts, and he equalled the record of scoring in eight successive Premiership games, matching Mark Cueto’s effort back in 2005.

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Still just 21 years old, the incredibly talented back has plenty more to give in the weeks, months and years to come.

Tommy Freeman certainly showed he could find his way to the try line in 2022Tommy Freeman certainly showed he could find his way to the try line in 2022
Tommy Freeman certainly showed he could find his way to the try line in 2022

And Freeman, who was released by Leicester Tigers as a teenager, knows just how much he has developed since graduating from the Saints Academy.

"I feel like I’ve come on from being a little boy to probably being targeted a little more when playing - I’ve definitely noticed that!,” Freeman said.

"Sam Vesty, Dows (Phil Dowson) and Vassy (Ian Vass) have helped me massively in my defence and attack.

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"And being involved with England with Eddie Jones and all the coaches there has meant areas of my game are continuing to develop, and hopefully that will continue."

Freeman is now a player opposition sides understandably fear, meaning they certainly place a target on his back in matches.

So has he had to be smarter in the way he plays?

"A little bit,” Freeman said.

"I remember Vassy saying after my breakthrough year that it’s not going to be too easy running through as much because people are going to target you.

"You’ve got to be as unpredictable as possible when you’ve got the ball, and out of structure what you do with the ball is also where you’ve got to be unpredictable.

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"Obviously, you’ve got to stay in structure, and things like that, but if you carry on playing your game things will sometimes just open up for you.

"I’m quite pleased to sometimes be in the right place at the right time.”

Freeman knows that his rugby journey is only just beginning.

And he insists has he plenty of things to work on.

“Defensively, I massively need to improve in that area,” he said.

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"That’s a big part of my game that I’m always trying to develop and it’s probably the hardest part of thegame.

"Attacking comes quite naturally to me, but defence and picking up cues in how people attack is a massive skill to have.

"It’s important to look at teams before playing them and pick up their traits. That will give you cues in a game and it’s then about being physical when you are ready to be physical.

"In attack, I could probably develop by remaining physical all the time and always staying in the game.”

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Overall though, there can be no doubt that 2022 can be considered a huge success for Freeman.

He was a key man as Saints finished in the Gallagher Premiership top four, and he then went and helped England win a Test series inAustralia during the summer.

"Obviously, the tour to Australia before this season was amazing and making my debut and getting a couple of games was unbelievable,” Freeman said.

"I was also involved this autumn, and while that was not quite how I wanted the games to go, it was definitely a good learning process for me.

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"Having Dingers (Fraser Dingwall), Furbs (George Furbank), Luds (Lewis Ludlam) and Courts (Courtney Lawes) there definitely helped.

"I shared a room with Courts down in Perth, which was good fun and that just made it very easy.

"A few of the lads had obviously been in the camp before, which made it a bit easier to socialise with whoever they knew as well.

"It was class having those boys there and because Courts had been involved the most, been through it all and seen it all, it was nice to see that perspective of things when you’ve got someone like me or Dingers, who were fairly new to it.

"It was also nice to get to meet new people and see new faces.”