Former Saracens second rower Hayden Smith has returned to Saracens this week and the New York Jets Tight End spent took time out to coach the London Blitz American Football team at Allianz Park.
Smith returned to Saracens this week and during his session with London Blitz he got to see Saracens new home for the first time and the Australian born former US Eagle was impressed.
“Allianz Park is really good,” he said after his visit earlier this week. “It was the first time that I‘ve seen Allianz Park and it was great to get down there and have a proper look at the place; you can tell that when its full there will be an amazing atmosphere, and it was really nice to get out on there on the surface and have a run.
“It is an outstanding surface, and it was great for me to get out there with the London Blitz and get a few routes in during the session.”
When Smith left Saracens for the Big Apple and the NFL, Allianz Park was still a building site.
He added: “The surface is similar in nature to gridiron, although it was a little softer than the ones that we usually play on. We rarely find ourselves on the ground as much as rugby players do, so there’s definitely a softer surface here at Allianz Park but it’s still firm under foot and it makes for an explosive pitch. It’s very fast and it worked perfectly for me in that session and it’s worked well for Saracens guys too.”
The imposing Tight End has been back at Saracens training ground to maintain his strict training schedule for the New York franchise, and he is enjoying reacquainting himself with a few old team mates.
“Saracens are a huge part of my journey; I spent some amazing years here and they are years that look back on very fondly.
“I like to keep in contact with the guys here and I’ve really enjoyed coming back to see everyone and spend some time with them as it’s an amazing atmosphere here at a great club.”
Saracens fans and players have been following the Australian’s progress since his move, a career move that he is really enjoying.
“It’s very different. Obviously, it’s a very different sport and there is a lot of work that goes into the detail and culturally there are differences, but it is an amazing sport to be involved with,” he explained.
“It’s great that some people have been following my career over in the US and I’ve certainly been following Saracens as much as I can.
“I feel very lucky to be a New York Jet and it’s an experience that I’m relishing and really enjoying.”