Northampton Saints’ loss could well prove to be Harlequins’ and Richmond’s gain in 2013 thanks a young man called Louis Grimoldby.
The 18-year-old left the academy at Franklin’s Gardens in the summer because he wanted to study a business management degree at Kingston University.
The former Stamford School student, who represented England U18 Clubs and Schools last season, impressed Quins academy chief enough during a few JP Morgan Sevens appearances last year to offer him a move to the Stoop.
Grimoldby, on loan at the Athletic Ground, came off the bench to help his side to a famous 23-19 win at National Division One high-flyers Esher last month before delivering a man of the match performance in a 24-5 win over Old Albanians before Christmas.
With Matt Keville at inside centre, Richmond’s midfield has a very youthful look about it as they bid to close the gap on those at the top of the table having turned the year eighth.
And director of rugby Steve Hill, who will be without fly half Luke Cousins until late January with a shoulder injury, could not be happier for his team – and his wingers.
“Louis is a good player and has played a bit at Northampton, but always wanted to go to university so moved south,” said Hill, who takes his men to Blaydon tomorrow.
“We have got a pretty young midfield and when Louis and Matt Keville teamed up for the first time against Esher they really clicked.
“You can see they have very strong distribution skills
“We’ve always known we have had wingers who can finish if they are given the space and the chances, but now we have the distributors in midfield.
“It allows us to get the ball out to the likes of James Greenwood and Will Browne quicker and more often and I’m really pleased with how they have clicked.”
* Richmond’s Will Warden has been selected in the England Counties squad for February clashes with Ireland Club XV and France Amateurs.