The dampening of the Corinthian Spirit

The great thing about the professional era was the amount of rugby on offer. I loved any opportunity to play, but the fixture list became congested. Leicester and the Saints joined forces in the 1996/97 to take on two touring sides, Western Samoa and Otago. This gave me another opportunity to play in front of a big crowd at Welford Road on 4th December 1996 and we then played each other four days later in the courage league. This would never happen in today’s game. I was playing well and this afforded me two more opportunities to play for England A.

The first was at Bristol on the 31st January 1997 against Otago, and then again at Welford Road on the 28th February 1997 against France A. This was the first time that I had played for England A since the game went professional and was the first time I was able to meet other players from around the country to find out what other clubs were being paid. Matt Allen, Matt Volland and I were all in the England A side from Northampton that night and had conversations with Dorian West, who was from Leicester, and Martin Corry, who was then at Bristol. It soon became apparent that we weren’t getting as much as other players in the premiership, but it didn’t seem to matter.


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