The Northampton Saints boss explains his policy for promoting talent

Too Much, Too Soon: Chris Boyd on using young stars at the right time

In our special report on Too Much, Too Soon in rugby we looked into why the physical and mental demands of the game can overwhelm some unlucky young players taking their first tentative steps into elite rugby. But within that feature we also made a point of celebrating some of those who ensure that young players are looked after.

Chris Boys is one such coach who is celebrated for the way he gives young players a chance at the very top level, but manages their load – and expectations. So in the original report he wrote us a panel on his approach….

Too Much, Too Soon

Boss: Chris Boyd (Getty Images)

“If you’ve got a long-term view of youth your players will be in a better space,” writes Northampton Saints director of rugby Boyd of how they integrate starlets.

“They also need to know that you trust and have faith in them, physically and mentally. Three or four times we’ve given guys opportunities and they’ve not actually played well but it’s a great part of their learning. It’s individual development, as well as performance.

“When I arrived I made a decision to have a coaching group of young, English, high-potential talents. That’s slid into the playing group. I’m not naive enough to miss competency in that group, but Owen Franks can bring on young props like Ehren Painter and Paul Hill. But they can’t get impatient.

“The biggest issue is fear of failure. I remember when Painter played Clermont in the Challenge Cup and got dusted by their prop. He was pretty dark but in years to come he’ll do the same to someone else. So it was a great day for learning.”

This panel first appeared in Rugby World magazine in March.

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