Kahn Fotuali’i is relishing the renewal of his friendly rivalry with fellow Saints scrum-half Lee Dickson.
Dickson returned to training at Franklin’s Gardens this week after playing his part in a successful Six Nations campaign for England.
Fotuali’i has made the Northampton No.9 shirt his own since his club-mate departed, putting in a string of fine displays.
But with a testing run of games coming up in the Aviva Premiership and an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final at Sale on the horizon, the pair will battle it out for the starting spot.
And Fotuali’i is looking forward to the challenge, which he feels will keep both players fresh and firing.
“It’s been the whole season like that, but it’s working well for us,” said the Samoan of the scrap for the scrum-half role.
“We get a couple of games each and then some time to freshen up the body for the next couple.
“Hopefully he can come back in and add that excitement to the boys and get everyone up for the run-in.”
Dickson is one of six Six Nations stars who have returned to Saints in the build-up to Saturday’s Premiership game at Sale.
And Fotuali’i is glad to have them back as the club look for a lift following last Sunday’s LV= Cup final defeat to Exeter.
He said: “We’ve got to move forward, take some things from the finals footy and we’ve got a couple of big Premiership games ahead of us.
“It’s going to be tough for us, but we’ve got internationals back and they bring some excitement.
“They’ll be wanting to get out there and play as well and there will be competition for spots as well.
“It’s going to be good for us as a team and we’ve just got to focus on Sale this week.”