Biding his time is not the easiest thing to do for Fraser Dingwall who is desperate to break into professional rugby but he understands patience now is likely to bring bigger rewards at the end of the season.
The young centre capped off a fine season with a successful tour of South Africa with England U18s with convincing wins over France U19s and South Africa Schools in the their three-game tour.
But it made for a delayed return to Northampton and he is now being held back by the academy coaches to prevent any burn out.
“I’m desperate to get going and I’m already match fit after the tour but I only came back late in August from South Africa so the coaches are managing my work load right now,” he told The Rugby Paper. “It’s not easy to take but I’ve got to look at the bigger picture.
“I’ve been training full-time with Saints since I came back but I’m yet to play because the club is making sure I’m not over doing it.
“I’m dual-registered with my home club Cambridge and I’m looking forward to it. My father played for them so it’ll be nice to follow in his footsteps.
“I’m one of the fortunate one to have two years at U20s level so I’m hoping I can challenge for a place in the squad ahead of the Six Nations and the World Cup in Argentina next June.
“I’m only on a one year contract so I just want to play as much rugby as possible for whoever I’m picked. I have to show the coaches I improve over the year.
“Getting an academy contract is not easy as such but it’s a lot harder to be retained after your first year in the professional set up. I’ve got a lot of hard work coming up.”
To facilitate the transition, Dingwall will be able to rely on his four years at Bedford School where the rugby programme is one of the finest in the country.
But the 18-year-old admits training full-time takes a lot more than the eye can see.
The 6ft 1in, 13st 8lb centre added: “This season is my first while being contracted at Saints but I’ve been at the club since the age of 13 and went through the whole EPDG program. They were the ones setting me up with a place at Bedford School which was brilliant for me.
“I spent four years there and the last two seasons have been brilliant. We went unbeaten in 2016 and won the Champions Trophy in 2016. We came really close to retaining our title last season but lost to Tonbridge in the final.
“Training full time gives you so much time to focus on your conditioning which is something you tend not to do too much while being at school. I’m looking to put up nine pounds to cope with the physicality of senior rugby.
“I moved around the back line in the past but I’m looking to settle at inside centre which is my favourite position. I’m more a distributor and playing in the No.12 shirt gives you a lot of opportunity to get involved and impact on the team.
“I’m looking to get involved in the A-League with Saints and maybe make my professional debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup later on.”
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