Augustus gets the ideal chaperone as he settles in at Saints

As far as temporary housemates go, Juarno Augustus has got himself a good one on his arrival at the Saints.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:00 pm
Juarno Augustus (picture: Northampton Saints)
Juarno Augustus (picture: Northampton Saints)

There aren’t too many people in the current black, green and gold squad who know more about the club and life at Franklin’s Gardens than James Grayson.

So Augustus is grateful that he gets to be steered around the town by the fly-half, who has been a Saint as a boy and a man.

“I came over alone and I thought it was going to be tough but on my first day when I got here everyone was very welcoming and it almost feels like home,” said Augustus, a summer arrival from South African side the Stormers.

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“Every day is nice for me and I enjoy it. I like being here with the brothers.

“I’m living with Jimmy, James Grayson, at the moment because it’s quite difficult looking for a place to stay. They get advertised and they’re gone again.

“He’s a local boy so he knows all the ins and outs and he helps me a lot, getting in and out of town.”

Grayson isn’t the only one who has taken the 23-year-old under his wing.

Augustus explained: “Teimana Harrison is a very important player and we actually got along quite quickly.

“He’s like a big brother to me at training.

“When we do lineouts he tells me what the calls are and he always guides me.

“He’s like a big brother looking after me.

“It’s fun being around him and I can’t wait to play with him.

“It’s always good learning from people who play the game longer than me, like Teimana and Tom Wood, the guys in my position.”

Augustus will battle it out with the likes of Harrison and Wood for starts at No.8 at Saints this season.

But there is nothing but friendship building between the players right now.

Augustus is a sizeable recruit for Saints, not just because of his frame but because of his name.

He has developed a big reputation at a young age, having been named player of the tournament at the 2017 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Georgia.

Augustus produced an exceptional contribution for South Africa, scoring in all five of the Junior Boks’ matches, finishing with a grand total of seven tries (the most by any player).

He has continued to develop with Currie Cup side Western Province and the Stormers in Super Rugby since 2017.

At 6’2” and 116kg, Augustus is a physical No.8 built for the Gallagher Premiership, with the young battering ram boasting a dynamic and aggressive ball-carrying ability, and showing a knack for scoring tries in heavy traffic throughout his promising career so far.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘trokkie’ (truck) by his Stormers team-mates, Augustus was also involved in the Springbok Green vs Springbok Gold invitational match last October.

And now he is setting his sights on having a big say in the Gallagher Premiership when it starts next month.

He said: “It was a new experience that I wanted because I’ve been playing in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby and I wanted to try something new.

“Some of the guys who came over got called up for the Springboks and one of the reasons is because they came over and played against some big name players.

“It was one of the reasons why I came over: to test myself against the best in the world in this league.

“It’s an experience and something new for me.”

With Augustus coming to a totally new environment, his new team-mates have been eager to give him a warm welcome, including speaking in his native tongue.

“Everyone tries a bit to speak Afrikaans but I won’t mention it because they are a few bad words, I think they learned them from a few guys who were here before me,” Augustus said.

“Afrikaans is difficult and it sounds a bit harsh but if you get the lingo of it, it’s good.

“I’m the only South African. We’ve got Dave Ribbans as well but he’s English now. He does understand some Afrikaans though so the two of us will speak to each other and no one else will know what we’re talking about so that’s when it’s fun.”

Saints have not been short of South Africans in recent years, with Augustus having noted their work in Northampton.

“Victor Matfield played here, Heinrich Brussow played here, Shaun Adendorff played here and that made my decision easier coming here,” he said.

“It’s a lovely town, a good community and good rugby so it’s all to look forward to.”

And Augustus can’t wait to feel the roar of the Gardens faithful in the years to come.

He said: “I’ve heard this is the best stadium in England to play at because the field looks really good and the fans fill the stadium up.

“Back home, I played once in front of a full stadium so I’d like to experience that here as well.”