Eastern Counties trio had to endure tough times to win pro deals at Northampton Saints
- Credit: Archant
They have all overcome some form of adversity in recent times but emerged stronger for it, as their shiny, new professional deals at Northampton Saints will testify.
The decision by the Premiership giants to hand Ehren Painter, Alex Rayment and Toby Trinder one-year contracts also provides a glowing endorsement of the Saints’ recruitment programme within the Eastern Counties region.
Not only have the boys improved technically during their time with the Saints, they have also become battle-hardened, a trait which will serve them well when they enter the cauldron of the Northampton first-team set-up in pre-season, this summer.
Saints’ Elite Player Development Manager for the Eastern Counties, Simon Sinclair, believes the trio’s maiden summer with the Saints will be brutal as they get to grips with a new, professional environment, but they will be well-equipped to cope, given their exploits over the last five or six years or so.
“For me, this shows that the pathway is there for these youngsters,” said Sinclair, reflecting on the fact that Painter, Rayment and Trinder were three of just five boys from this season’s academy to be kept on by Northampton, an achievement in itself.
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“They came in at under-13 level and to see them put in the hard work and graft and develop as players has been really pleasing to see.
“Toby has only played 60 minutes rugby this season due to a shoulder injury, Ehren has struggled a bit with injury, and Alex had a knee injury before Christmas, but they were all managed really well by the club’s (Northampton) medical team and they have worked hard on their strength and conditioning.”
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Sinclair added: “The hard work starts now and pre-season will be a brutal, punishing step up.
“They probably won’t touch the ball in July, which gives you an idea of the kind of strength work they will be doing, but the nice thing about it is the senior boys will take them under their wing.
“They may have to go out and learn their trade in the National League or the Championship and the route to the first-team will be tough, but they all have the potential to play for the first team in the future.
“It’s an exciting time and I am really pleased and proud.”
Former Ipswich YM youngster Rayment is a hooker, who attends Royal Hospital School and is a member of Bury St Edmunds RUFC, while props Trinder (Ipswich RUFC) and Painter (Chelmsford RUFC) are pupils at Framlingham College and Felsted School respectively.
“I remember watching Ehren when he was a youngster and he came off the bench in a game. He was a big lad back then with some great attributes and a good work ethic, I thought he was very coach-able,” recalled Sinclair.
“Toby has been with us since under-12 and has great footballing skills, which probably comes from his dad’s football background, while we like to call Alex “The Lunatic”.
“He will run through brick walls for you, he is very aggressive and a good ball carrier with great footwork.
“I am delighted for all three boys and very proud that three players from this regions have been awarded professional contracts, especially as the Saints only handed out five this year.
“It’s a fantastic achievement.”