Finn Smith is only 20 years old and is still getting the hang of life in English rugby.
The ground on which he treads is shaky, to say the least. The Gallagher Premiership has been in financial chaos this season. Smith knows this better than anyone.
In his third campaign at senior level, he has already experienced more than many players have in their entire careers. The talented fly-half made his Worcester debut at 18 and has a junior Six nations A Grand Slam with England on his resume.
Finn Smith is only 20 years old but is proving himself in the English Premier League this season
English-born Smith starred for Northampton after joining from Worcester
He has been out of a job this year following the demise of the Warriors – the club he joined at 13 – before he was quickly snapped up by Northampton, who decided not to renew the contract of Wales captain Dan Biggar, who occupied the crucial position of 10 . was a tense, anxious time.
Unsurprisingly, Smith is concerned about the current landscape of the Premier League.
“It’s almost scary — that’s my main feeling,” he said Sports mail.
Worcester came under the authority and was partially liquidated in October
“It’s scary how the league will go and where it will stop. Two clubs went.
“As a young player, it makes you think. Everything that’s been going on has shown me that when you start making a little money, you have to be a little more prudent these days.
“You can’t always count on your next paycheck. There are lessons to be learned financially. You can’t live month to month and it forces you to start thinking a few years ahead and what your next steps in life will be if this (unemployment) happens again.
Smith linked up with the Saints after Worcester’s financial collapse
“Hopefully this will be the worst time of my rugby career and it’s not.”
Worcester and Wasps have both taken a backseat to the season to date after going into administration before being relegated and relegated from the Premier League.
All players and staff on both sides lost their jobs.
Some, like Smith, recovered, but not all were lucky enough to do so.
“I’ve been doing my homework on the road to Worcester on Tuesday and Thursday nights since I was 13, so it’s more than just a club that has paid the bills for me,” Smith said.
“There’s a real family bond there. I went there for a very long time and what happened was incredibly difficult. We all want only the truth.
“I believe that the owners cannot be forgiven for treating us so inhumanely. I understand that businesses do die, but to not stand up and meet the music is inexcusable in my opinion.
“I don’t think they’ll ever fully appreciate the mess they’ve caused to people and their families. I hope the consequences are equal to the stress they put on everyone.”
The fly-half was a Worcester academy product who had been with the club since the age of 13
Disgraced former Worcester owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have taken one of English rugby’s proudest clubs into oblivion and tarnished the memory of former Warriors boss Cecil Duckworth.
Sixways is now looking to start over, but not that Smith will be there to help.
He had already agreed to join Northampton before the crisis at Worcester, but the move came sooner than expected last month. Smith did have offers to join French clubs on short-term deals, but he wanted to start his new life at Franklin Gardens as soon as possible. Now a new chapter begins.
“I’m incredibly fortunate to be in the position I’m in,” Smith said. “But it’s a bit bittersweet.
Smith admitted he was angry at Worcester’s owners for watching the club collapse
“You have to look after yourself in times like this, but I’ve also got 20 or 30 mates from Worcester who I’ve spent three or four years with who are in a pretty diabolical situation.
“You can only hope for their improvement. It’s hard for me to fully look into the future knowing that they are in this situation.”
Smith’s spell at Northampton couldn’t have been much better as he kicked five goals and a penalty in an impressive 45-31 win over Bristol. And with Biggar eyeing an immediate move to French giants Toulon, he should be the future of the Saints backline.
Just last year, Biggar was seen dishing out advice to Smith after Northampton thrashed Worcester in a clip which went viral on social media.
Wasps followed Worcester as the first Premier League club to enter administration
“I thought about it, and I can’t see it as me replacing Dan,” Smith said.
“Any trade off of one of the best fly-halfs in the world would be a bit of a downgrade! I have to see this as a great opportunity. Northampton is looking to the future, so hopefully in a few years I can play somewhere at that level and reach the heights that Dan is at now.
“I need to give up the idea that I’m going to be at the level of the British & Irish Lions immediately.”
Smith continued: “Everyone was joking that Dan was telling me to come to Northampton when we were talking. He was the one who hugged me because he saw what a difficult night I had.
Smith will replace Wales international Dan Biggar, who will leave the club next year
“I really respect him for helping me like that. When we played Northampton six months later, I was knocked out. He came and sat with me in the doctor’s room after the match.
“I was kidding him, he used me to make himself look like a good guy!”
Smith tasted NatWest Cup glory at Twickenham with Warwick School and also played junior club rugby for Shipston-on-Stour. He is one of the brightest prospects in English rugby and is now part of an enterprising and young Northampton back line that could represent the Saints for many years to come.
Smith has already caught the eye of England head coach Eddie Jones, but Scotland boss Gregor Townsend is also a fan. Smith was a member of the England under-20 squad that claimed the Six Nations title in 2021 but is still eligible to play for both sides at senior level.
England head coach Eddie Jones has been following Smith’s performances at club level
Smith was born in Warwick but his grandfather Tom Elliott played for Scotland and the Lions.
“The opportunity to play rugby at international level is huge,” said Smith, who has been balancing his whirlwind rugby career with an economics degree at the Open University for six years.
“My whole family is Scottish, so there is support from that side. I don’t think I’m at that point in my career yet to make any decisions. I am not happy with where I am.
“I want to keep developing my game and then hopefully the decision will come naturally.
But also Scotland coach Gregor Townsend with Smith capable of playing for any side at senior level
“I had a conversation with Eddie last year about getting my game up. It was the summer after what I guess was a bit of a breakout season for me. Some of the players in my age group were getting into the first team so it was more of a question from me about how I can get to that level.
“He gave me some honest feedback and I tried to do it. I also had some good conversations with Gregor about my game and what he wants to see more of from me.
“We had conversations about where they might see me in their thinking. It was good, and it’s nice to get some feedback, but I don’t want to pull the trigger too early on something that could potentially be a rash decision based on emotion. It is nice to feel that you have been recognized.
“It gives you a sense of hunger because before having conversations like that, you feel like your ceiling is maybe just playing well at the club level. It definitely motivates me to strive for higher awards.”