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Fin Smith discusses growth in his game following RPA award

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Friday May 31, 2024

Fin Smith has recently been announced as the Rugby Players Association (RPA) Player of the Year after a terrific season in which he helped guide Northampton Saints to a Champions Cup semi-final and a top of the table in the English Premiership.

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The award was gifted to the young fly half after receiving the greatest number of votes from his fellow professionals in what could be argued as the most prestigious award in the English game.

“I am extremely proud of this achievement”, Smith told reporters. “I just want to say a huge thank you to my team-mates and coaches at Northampton who have helped me get this accolade.”

It’s easy to forget that just three years ago Smith was desperately trying to pull the weathered strings of a struggling Worcester Warriors side as they were defeated 10-66 by future club Northampton Saints, with Welsh international at the time, Dan Biggar at the helm. Following the match, Biggar was shown consoling the then 19 year old, as he offered the future England star his own experienced words of advice.

Speaking at the time, the young Smith had told reporters: “He was saying that he thought I had done well and that you can’t let results like this bog you down too much. 

“He said he has been in there that position at my age and he said that he saw a lot of the player he was when he was my age. I appreciated that a lot. The main thing was like all it is going to take is just one good performance and the confidence will just start building and building.” 

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Speaking recently in an article covered by the Telegraph, Smith discussed the way in which his game has grown over the past couple of years. Since those early days, Smith’s career has grown exponentially, with Biggar’s words having clearly had a positive impact on the new Saints playmaker. Talking about his playing style, Smith said:

“I wouldn’t say I’m a ridiculously talented guy,” says Smith. “I’m not fast, I’m not the biggest, I don’t have the skills of Marcus [Smith] and people like that, so I always said to myself that to go far in this job, I’d have to be the hardest-working guy.

“We’ve got this video app called Hudl that we review training on and I’d like to think that I spend more time on there than the majority of lads. What’s been important for me is, ‘what certain people need to know’. It’s different for each player as you refine the messages about your attack or the overall game plan and what’s going to be important, rather than ramming every bit of knowledge down people’s throats.”

“I’d always thought that I was a fairly decent tackler with a few nice touches attacking wise. Since coming to Northampton, I’ve worked really hard on game management.

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“I’d do a few good things and then make a mistake and the mistake would really rattle me. I used to think it was all a bit of a con, that stuff, but it’s made a massive difference. I wish I’d taken notice of the mental side a bit earlier.”

The Women's Rugby World Cup 2025 is coming to England. Register now here to be the first to hear about tickets.

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