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Friday Nov 10, 2023

One in one out as Northampton sign replacement for fly-half Grayson

Northampton Saints have signed Edinburgh fly-half Charlie Savala on loan until the end of the season. This is seen to be a direct replacement for James Grayson who will be making his way to Japan in order to play more rugby.

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The 23-year-old arrived in Northampton on Tuesday after accumulating 33 appearances for Edinburgh since his debut in the 2020/21 United Rugby Championship season.

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Savala initially pursued rugby league, participating in the Sydney Roosters’ academy, and it was only in 2020 that he transitioned to union and relocated to Scotland.

The 102kg fly-half comes with a multitool style skillset, with a particular focus on goal-kicking, as well as being known to be incredibly solid in defence.

Charlie has a very good skillset,” Saints’ Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson said. “His pass-kick option is really good, and he’s a really confident guy who wants to come here and play, so we’re grateful to Edinburgh for allowing him the opportunity to come to Saints on loan.

“Charlie is a very ambitious young man and we’re keen to get him down to Northampton, and put him into our environment to see what he is capable of here.

“From chatting to him, he clearly wants to get better. Sam Vesty, Lee Radford, and the rest of the crew are excited to coach him, and hopefully we can improve Charlie as a player during his time here with us.”

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – JANUARY 21: Charlie Savala of Edinburgh Rugby prepares to kick a conversion during the EPCR Challenge Cup match between Edinburgh Rugby and CA Brive at DAM Health Stadium on January 21, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Grayson has been reminiscent about moving away from Franklins Gardens, after joining the club in the youth ranks at just 13 years old.

“Ultimately, this is a decision driven by my desire to play more rugby, more regularly. As a professional, all you want is to be able to go out there and play on a Saturday afternoon, so I am making this move to try and further my rugby career – it is an opportunity that I felt like I couldn’t really turn down.”

“Without doubt this was a really difficult decision for me to make,” said Grayson. “I’ve grown up with a lot of the lads in the playing group. They’re my brothers, and it’s going to be tough to move away, but I’ll cherish every memory I made with them on and off the pitch.

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“Saints has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I joined the Academy at 12 years old, but even before that I was a ball boy and obviously was coming down to the Gardens regularly to watch my dad play, so Northampton will always be home for me.

“Whenever I have stepped onto the pitch at the Gardens, I’ve felt like I’ve had the backing of the Saints supporters, and I’ll be forever grateful for the way that they took me in.

“I want to thank the Club for allowing me to make this move away at a time that is right for me. I also want to thank everyone – the coaches, the medical staff, the strength and conditioning staff, and so on – for all the investment they made in me over the last seven years. I feel like I have grown from a boy into a man in that time, and they’ve all played a huge role in making me a better player and a better person.

“I also have to say ‘thank you’ to my family and my partner, Jess. They’ve been with me all the way, as emotionally I’ve dealt with the highs and the lows of professional sport, and I would not be able to do it without them.”

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 21: Saints’ James Grayson signs an autograph for fans after the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Bristol Bears at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on October 21, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)

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