Exciting times at Saints, says centre Tuitavake

Nafi Tuitavake believes Saints have plenty to be excited about ahead of the new season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Nafi Tuitavake believes Saints have plenty to be excited about ahead of the new season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

It would be foolish to read too much into pre-season friendlies.

Especially against sides who are not necessarily at full strength.

But there is no doubt that the swagger with which Saints have played, particularly in the match against the Dragons, has provided some promise.

Jim Mallinder’s men ran in a massive 11 tries in a Saturday afternoon evisceration of the Welsh outfit at Franklin’s Gardens a couple of weeks ago.

The 71-21 scoreline was enhanced by a raft of tries towards the end against the tiring Dragons.

And some of them came from slick moves, the like of which Saints produced regularly during the second half of last season.

Good results didn’t always follow, but there was no doubt the team’s attacking game improved significantly.

And confidence is high ahead of the new campaign, which starts with a mouthwatering fixture against Saracens at Twickenham on September 2.

“It's definitely exciting times,” said Tongan centre Nafi Tuitavake, who was one of the men on the scoresheet against the Dragons.

“We’ve got more boys to come, new things and it’s exciting.

“We’ve been working on new ideas, new combinations and it’s refreshing.

“There’s good competition between the boys and everyone will be putting their hand up for that first game against Sarries.”

Since slaying the Dragons, Saints have beaten Nottingham and Glasgow Warriors.

And they will now conclude their pre-season campaign with a game against Ulster at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.

“Every game you just have to put your hand up and perform if you want to be involved," Tuitavake said.

“We’ve got a lot of great talent in the team.

“In my position, we’ve got Tom (Stephenson) who has been awesome, Hutch (Rory Hutchinson), Luther (Burrell) - it’s healthy for the team.”