Dorian West knows exactly what Alex Waller will need to do to win his showdown with Adam Jones on Sunday – having played against the Ospreys tighthead himself.
The Northampton forwards coach squared up to 32-year-old Wales and British & Irish Lions star Jones during a playing career spent as a hooker at Leicester and England.
And now Waller will have a similar experience as he comes into the Saints team in place of injured England prop Alex Corbisiero on Sunday.
When asked what advice he had given his charge about facing Jones, West said: “He’s heavy and you’ve got to work hard.
“That’s how it goes with props and international ones.
“We’ve got some things we’ve looked at, got some ideas but we know we need to concentrate on ourselves and be at our best.”
And he added: “It’s always a big challenge against an experienced international prop.
“I can remember playing against him myself, so that shows how long he’s been around.
“He’s obviously a quality player and that gives them a lot of stability in what they’re trying to achieve.
“They’ve got a lot of good forwards and we need to make sure we’re at our best.”
Waller has only started one Saints game this season, replacing Corbisiero for the 26-24 defeat at Gloucester last month.
On the bench that day was Waller’s younger brother Ethan, a 20-year-old loosehead, and West says he has been delighted by the progress of the siblings, who are both Academy graduates.
“I’ve been really pleased with Alex’s development and likewise his brother,” said West.
“They’ve done really well those two lads.
“Alex is improving week on week, still young in front row terms, still got bits to learn but he’s come a long way in a short space of time and hopefully we’ll see him at his best this weekend.”