Brookes enjoying friendly battle with Saints and England team-mate Hill
Kieran Brookes says he and Paul Hill are driving each other on at Saints this season.
The England duo have shared tighthead duties having both arrived at Franklin’s Gardens last summer.
Both have represented their country during this campaign, with Hill making his senior England debut in the Six Nations win in Italy before Brookes returned to the squad for games against Wales and France.
Gareth Denman is also pushing for starts at Saints, and Brookes, who signed on from Newcastle Falcons prior to this season, is enjoying the competition.
“It’s good, healthy competition,” Brookes said. “We drive each other on, on and off the pitch.”
And on Hill he added: “We’ve got a good relationship - I support him and he supports me.
“He’s a good player, we’re both in competition for the same shirt and we’re team-mates going for the same goal so it’s good.”
Saints have been fortunate with their tightheads during this campaign, with Brookes, who did have six weeks out between December and January, Hill and Denman largely staying clear of injury.
And Brookes said: “I think we’ve got nearly a fully fit squad and that’s good for everyone. Everyone is in a position with lots of competition and driving everyone on to play their best.
“Across the squad we’ve got loads of depth in every position and if you have a bad game, you come in and review it on Monday and people are questioning you and it makes you want to play that little bit better.
“Somebody is always snapping at your heels trying to get your shirt.”
Saints will hope for a big contribution from both Brookes and Hill on Sunday as they face Aviva Premiership form side Wasps.
That sizeable encounter at the Ricoh Arena will be followed by a Champions Cup quarter-final at Saracens on April 9 and a local derby at home to Leicester Tigers a week later.
And Brookes said: “Last week (the 29-23 win against Harlequins) was big, this week is equally as big and then the Sarries game is huge, but we’re just trying to take it week by week.
“At the moment we’re concentrating on this week, trying to get the result this weekend and then it’s on to Sarries.
“Wasps have a good set-piece with dangerous backs and they’re good in defence. It’s going to be a really tough game with probably only two or three points in it.
“They beat us here at the Gardens (in January) and hopefully we can go there and get the win.”