Jim Mallinder says he had been keeping an eye on Campese Ma’afu for a while before bringing the Fijian loosehead prop to Franklin’s Gardens last week.
Ma’afu, the younger brother of former Saints ace Salesi Ma’afu, made his first appearance in Northampton colours in the Wanderers’ 38-14 win against Sale Jets on Monday night.
And Mallinder said: “We’ve been watching him for a while, particularly during the World Cup when he stood out against England and against Dan Cole. He really did a good job.
“We were looking to bring him in for next year, but with Corbs having to stop, we were a bit light in that area.
“He became available so we thought it was ideal to get him in now and get him into our system.
“He’s signed for this season and another couple of seasons.
“We did talk to Salesi about him and a number of other people who knew of him.”