Northampton Saints: Ben Nutley believes time right 'to step up'

Ben Nutley
Nutley scored two tries in his last Saints start - a Challenge Cup win over Sale in April

Northampton Saints back-row forward Ben Nutley has set his sights on becoming more than a bit-part player for the defending Premiership champions.

Nutley made his 50th appearance for the club last week, four years after his 1st XV debut.

"I'm 22 and a lot of the lads are getting older and some lads are getting international recognition," he told BBC Radio Northampton.

"It's my time to come through and I feel I am ready to step up."

With a host of Saints stars away on international duty, including three in the England squad to face New Zealand on Saturday, there are opportunities for young and second-string players to shine.

Saints' back-row competition
Tom Wood (91 Saints appearances)Calum Clark (113)
Phil Dowson (165)Samu Manoa (100)
Jon Fisher (Eight)Ben Nutley (50)
Sam Dickinson (31)Teimana Harrison (14)

Nutley reached his half-century by coming off the bench in last week's LV= Cup win over Newcastle, but is hoping to start at flanker against Scarlets in the same competition this weekend.

"Hopefully I can add to this 50 caps and get to 100 within two years," he said.

"I'm happy here and I can't see myself leaving in the future.

"For me to come through the academy and get 50 appearances is a big thing for me.

"I would have hoped to have played a bit more. To get into that back row you have to be international standard and I'm working my way up there."

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