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Saracens fan Louise Warr puts the spotlight on new signing James Johnston ahead of Premiership opener
With the start of the new season rapidly approaching, it is only natural that people’s thoughts turn to what lies ahead.
The London Double Header is now just four days away and the final pieces of the pre-season jigsaw will be coming together ready for the showpiece event at Twickenham.
One player in particular who will be itching for the opening game to arrive will be James Johnston.
Johnston is no stranger to the Twickenham turf having appeared there on numerous occasions, however this time is different, this time he will take to the field in Red and Black following his summer move from Harlequins.
The not–so-little brother of former Sarrie Census, improved leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Quins’ coach John Kingston turning himself from penalty machine to a fearsome opponent for even the best of props in the Premiership.
However, this is not the be all and end all of his game, Johnston will also provide a strong ball carrying option for the Men in Black when he joins the embarrassment of riches they have to offer in the front row, which includes British and Irish Lions Mako Vunipola and Matt Stevens, South African international Schalk Brits and five-times capped Welsh prop Rhys Gill.
Harlequins were understandably disappointed when Johnston made the switch across London; after all they had contributed hugely to the huge improvement shown by the Samoan international.
This led to him being branded a ‘judas’ by fans and left him having to defend his decision. Hopefully, this animosity is now a thing of the past and Quins fans will continue to support their former man when he comes up against London Irish in the Double Header.
Johnston has not denied that his switch to Saracens has provided him with some extra money, which will be used to help him support his family back in New Zealand, something that nobody can begrudge him.
However, Johnston seems to also be enjoying the rather unique Saracens approach to life too as well as bonding quickly with his new team mates, with twitter documenting not only his travels with the team but the relationships forming with those in which he will take to the field with.
Regardless of the motives behind his move, I for one cannot wait to see Johnston pull on the Saracens shirt for the first time for what will hopefully be a continued improvement and an even bigger future for him.
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