Dorian West has hailed Saints’ new second row star David Ribbans.
The English-qualified lock made his Premiership debut last Sunday, starting against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
And though Saints saw victory snatched from their grasp in the final play of the game, it didn’t detract from Ribbans’ impressive showing.
The 21-year-old, who stands at 6ft 8in tall, was signed from Western Province back in January.
He quickly made two Anglo-Welsh Cup appearances and after scoring a hat-trick in a friendly at Bedford Blues in March, he was thrown into league action last weekend.
And West said: “We’re really pleased with him.
“We watched quite a lot of him playing in South Africa as a young man and the skills and attitude he’s got.
“It’s sometimes difficult for a young lad to come over here and slot straight in so we’ve been a bit cautious.
“He played a couple of the Anglo-Welsh Cup games and he played in our second team at Bedford a few weeks ago and he was the best forward on the pitch.
“His training has been outstanding and he brings an edge and a physicality.
“He’s forced his way into the team, gone past some really good players and given us the option of having another real physical lad in the second row.
“He deserved his chance on the weekend and I thought he did really well.”
Another lock who has been making an impact at Saints this season is Api Ratuniyarawa.
The Fiji international arrived from French club Agen back in September and he has made 14 appearances so far.
“He’s been brilliant,” West said.
“He comes off the bench and does some really good things.
“He runs hard with the ball, makes big tackles and we’ve seen quite a bit of that since he’s been here.
“We’re really pleased to have him at the club.”