Tom Whiteley has ‘matured massively’ in Anglo-Welsh campaign according to Saracens’ Ian Vass

Saracens' Tom Whiteley. Pic: Wired Photos

Saracens' Tom Whiteley. Pic: Wired Photos Picture - Credit: Marek Dorcik /

Saracens academy coach Ian Vass believes the Anglo-Welsh Cup has greatly improved Tom Whiteley as a player, despite their cup exit to Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park on Saturday.

The Hendon-based club were out-muscled by a strong Tigers side in a 32-10 home defeat that brings their title defence to a bitter end, but Vass insists Whiteley’s development is heading in the right direction.

“Tom’s been brilliant. It was only his fifth game at fly-half ever,” he told Ham & High Sport. “To jump in the deep end as he has done and take responsibility has just meant he’s matured massively.

“Tactically, it’s the most import thing especially if he’s going back to playing nine again this season, which he’ll more likely do.

“To have played in different positions and control a team, it’s massive for him this season going forward and hopefully that will build the trust in him as a player regardless of the position.”

Despite Saracens losing their first home game of the season in all competitions, Whiteley remains positive and believes the pride around the squad will hold them in good stead for the remainder of the term.

“[We’re] massively proud,” said Whiteley. “We looked at each other in the changing room [after the game] – we’ve kept the same team the whole way through and not many teams do, so we were very proud of each other.

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“We worked really hard out there. Performance-wise they were just better than us and fair play to them they came out fighting.

“We’re in the A League so we’ve still got that to come and hopefully we can get back into the Premiership and the Champions Cup is still to come. We’re going to look to win both of those.

“[I’m] very confident and all the boys are too so we’ll go for both again this season.”

The young fly-half, who also plays at scrum-half, is one of several players nominated for the Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough Player award following a number of standout displays during the campaign.

“I’m obviously very humbled and lucky enough to be nominated but it’s a team effort, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.

“We’ve got a week off now so we get some rest time. I’ll probably be going back to Bedford for the rest of the season, but I’m looking to help out the team as much as possible in training.

“I’ll be training as hard as I can to help these guys go the whole way in the competitions.”