Form of Northampton's Curtis Langdon is just a snapshot of Saints' stellar season

Langdon has been a key cog in Northampton being able to challenge on two fronts this term
©Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints travel to Twickenham this weekend looking to nail their place in the Premiership play-off semi-finals while ending Harlequins’ hopes.

Regularly a high-scoring affair, with a 36-33 scoreline in favour of Saints back in November, it promises to be another entertaining encounter at England HQ.

Should the current Premiership leaders wish to depart the capital with a victory, it will once again take a full squad effort - something Curtis Langdon is fully aware of.

He said: “We don’t need much geeing up going into games. Every week is a big week, and we are very much aware of that.

“There is a big buzz around this game; must-win game for Quins, and we want to finish top of the league. We know we need to keep the momentum going if we are serious in winning trophies this year.”

The 26-year-old has been in fine form this season, dominating the attacking stats in his position with his six Premiership tries.

Key to this has been his determination to constantly learn and evolve from his time at Sale, Worcester and Montpellier as well as the experiences he gained as a youngster.

“I definitely spent a lot of time on loan, and as a young front rower, it is quite a tough experience,” said Langdon, who linked up with Doncaster Knights as well as National League clubs Sale FC, Fylde, Macclesfield and Henley when he was learning his craft.

“You get sent on loan to these clubs, who often have an old boy who has been at the club for 10 years, playing 300 or 400 times for the club, and you know you are just not going to play over him, so coming off the bench, you try to make the most of your minutes.

“You learn a lot playing at that level. Training in these environments full-time, you learn a lot, but I think if you’re not playing, it is pretty hard to progress.

“I think I took a lot from being out in France. Obviously, set pieces are massive over there. I like to think my scrum has come on quite a lot, and my lineout as well.

“I took a lot from it in terms of being surrounded by a good group of players at Montpellier and being exposed to a different brand of rugby.

“I think that coming here I’ve improved because of the quality of the coaching team here. Obviously, we had a big pre-season, and the S+C team here is really good.

“Sitting down and looking at parts of my game that they wanted to improve and ones I wanted to improve as well, they were really going after that in pre-season. 

“I think that is the main reason I’ve been playing good rugby this year.”

While his main focus is on performing for Northampton and trying to help the Saints achieve domestic and European success this season, the desire for further appearances for England does occupy Langdon’s thinking.

The twice-capped international is emboldened to see a cluster of his teammates rewarded for their contributions to Saints' impressive campaign and believes he too could join Steve Borthwick’s squad, with England touring New Zealand this summer.

He said: “I don’t just want to have two appearances for England against the USA and Canada [2021]. I want to play as much as I can for England. If I got that opportunity, it would be brilliant.

“There have been little conversations [with the coache]. There was a bit of a conversation before the Six Nations. I speak to Tom Harrison [England’s scrum coach] now and again and he comes into the club to catch up with some of the forwards in the squad. 

“Not a great deal of chat but they understand that it is coming to the business end of the season so a lot of focus has gone on that.

“My main focus at the minute is playing well for Saints every week, doing the best we can this season, and playing my part in this team, and hopefully if I’m doing as well at that as I want to be, then I will get another shot with England.”

Confident in Langdon earning future England caps is his Saints Director of Rugby Phil Dowson.

And this feeling was instant from the moment Dowson met the hooker prior to signing for the club.

Dowson said: “We want people who are competitive, who are desperate to play, who want to get better, and Curt kind of sums that up. He is a very talented sportsman in the loose, his footwork and his ability to get the ball away.

“All round, he has contributed massively, and we are very lucky to have a good hooking group here, and he has really pushed that group along.

“He drives a real positive energy through us by being super competitive and getting stuck into everything.”

This competitive spirit within the squad has seen the Saints suffer only one defeat since their last clash with Harlequins.

And Dowson believes a massive defensive shift is required to continue this impressive feat, with Northampton tailoring their training to stop Quins.

He said: “I want our defence to be really good this weekend and shut some of those Harlequins threats down. The better we do in that space, the more chance we have of winning.

“We practice loads of really unstructured chaos stuff, very similar in fact to Quins, lots of game stuff, so you do become honed in where the space is and how to take advantage of that space.”

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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