Mitch Eadie admits it is a shame he won’t be able to learn from Louis Picamoles at Saints this season.
But the new No.8 knows the absence of last season’s supporters’ and players’ player of the year gives him more chance of making the cut at Franklin’s Gardens.
Eadie has arrived in Northampton from Bristol this summer and will look to compete for a starting spot.
Saints are still interested in securing another player to help fill the void left by Picamoles, who was sold to Montpellier at the conclusion of the previous campaign.
But Eadie will be keen to show he is the man to make up for the loss of the France star.
“I was kind of looking forward to working with him because I would class him as one of the best in the world,” Eadie said.
“It was kind of a double-edged sword.
“On the one hand it was good that is isn’t here so I can get my chance, but on the other I was looking forward to working with him and learning from him.
“But it’s a very competitive squad here and what we’ve done during the past couple of weeks is try to work hard for each other.
“Hopefully I can push my way into the starting 15 or in the matchday 23.”
Teimana Harrison is another player who could be vying for the Saints No.8 shirt next season.
And the potential candidates for the role will be well aware of the importance of performances in the pre-season matches, which begin on August 12.
Saints host the Dragons, Nottingham and Ulster as well as travelling to Stirling to face Glasgow Warriors.
And Eadie said: “We’ve got class across the board here and that’s something that interested me.
“I think the competition can bring the best out of me as a player.
“I’m still young and we’ve got a lot of good players in the back row so we’re trying to get the best out of each other.
“I’m looking forward to the pre-season games.”