New Saints prop Ma’afu eager to improve under West’s tuition

PACK MAN - Dorian West's work with Saints' forwards persuaded Salesi Ma'afu to join the club (picture by Linda Dawson)

PACK MAN - Dorian West's work with Saints' forwards persuaded Salesi Ma'afu to join the club (picture by Linda Dawson)

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Salesi Ma’afu says Saints’ renowned power pack was the main reason why he decided to move to Franklin’s Gardens.

The 30-year-old tighthead prop has arrived at Northampton from Western Force and will be expected to fill the void left by the departures of Brian Mujati and Paul Doran-Jones.

Ma’afu certainly fits the bill, as he is a big scrummager, a strength demonstrated in his performance for the Force against the Lions earlier this summer.

And the Australia international says the chance to work with Saints forwards coach Dorian West and his impressive forward pack was too good to turn down.

“To come over to Saints, it’s a club that’s been going really well over the past few seasons and the work that Jim (Mallinder) and Dorian have done in the tight five especially is quite appealing to me,” said Ma’afu.

“I can improve my game and reignite my football over here and that’s a big part of why I decided to join to team.”

While Western Force struggled against the superior Lions outfit in most departments, the front row held their own.

And Ma’afu, who impressed at tighthead, admits he revelled in the chance to take on Warren Gatland’s men.

“I was pretty lucky to have a run against them and it was a big occasion,” he said. “I grew up watching the Lions when I was a kid and to actually run out against them was special.

“It was a good night out, but for us as a team they were much stronger than we were but I was one of the lucky few who get to run out against them.

“We did a good job. It was the first hit out for them and they were still finding their feet but we were happy with the outcome of the scrums.

“Overall, the result wasn’t what we wanted, but the performance of the front row was something we could be proud of.”