Saracens put Con­lon back on path to top via Bed­ford

The Rugby Paper - - Aviva Premiership - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

SARACENS back rower Joel Con­lon says he is de­ter­mined to seize the day against Northampton af­ter spend­ing two years wait­ing pa­tiently in the trenches.

A two-time Eng­land U20s World Cup win­ner in 2013 and 2014, Con­lon’s ca­reer failed to achieve lift-off in the spec­tac­u­lar man­ner of those he played along­side for the Red Rose such as Jack Now­ell, An­thony Wat­son, Ross Mo­ri­arty and Maro Itoje.

How­ever, a move from Ex­eter to Saracens in 2015 pro­vided fresh im­pe­tus and the 22-year-old is now reap­ing his re­wards, with a start against the Saints pro­vid­ing his lat­est op­por­tu­nity to stake a claim as the club’s chase for sil­ver­ware in­ten­si­fies. Con­lon told The Rugby

Pa­per: “Saracens was a great move – it re­fo­cused me, gave me the op­por­tu­nity to work on things phys­i­cally and spend­ing last sea­son on loan at Bed­ford was bril­liant be­cause it meant I had a full sea­son play­ing.

“I’ve had to be pa­tient be­cause see­ing guys like Itoje, Mo­ri­arty, Now­ell and Wat­son do­ing so well makes you ques­tion why you’re not mak­ing that same progress, but ev­ery player’s jour­ney is dif­fer­ent.

“Jamie Ge­orge had to be pa­tient at Saracens but is now get­ting re­warded, so I’ve be­come good at not be­ing frus­trated and I’ve been in­volved a lot over the last two months, play­ing in the Cham­pi­ons Cup quar­ter-fi­nal and some big league games.”

Con­lon will rel­ish hav­ing a crack at Northampton’s star-stud­ded back row.

He added: “Saints have got top guys like Louis Pi­camoles, Tom Wood and Jamie Gib­son who are not in the Cham­pi­ons Cup any­more, so they can af­ford to just go flat out over these last three league games and see where it takes them.

“We’ll be miss­ing play­ers, but it’s a mas­sive test we’re ready for and we want to main­tain mo­men­tum and get into that top two.”

Saracens flanker Kelly Brown will re­tire at the end of the sea­son to be­come an academy coach. The 34year-old was capped 64 times by Scot­land.

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