Kahn Fotuali’i has hailed former club-mate Samu Manoa as the pair prepare to square up in Brighton on Sunday.
Fotuali’i’s Samoa, who also possess the Pisi brothers, Ken and George, take on Manoa’s USA in their World Cup opener at the Brighton Community Stadium.
It will be an intriguing battle between Saints past and present as the two nations look to get off to the best possible start.
And Fotuali’i knows that Manoa, who left Northampton for Toulon this summer, will need to be stopped if the Samoans are to emerge victorious.
“Samu is a fantastic all-round player and an amazing athlete,” said the Saints scrum-half.
“He is one of the best forwards I’ve seen and I’d pick him in a world 15.
“He is not just a strong man, he is also very smart and never gives away silly penalties and we’ll have to show him a lot of respect.
“We certainly won’t underestimate the Americans. They have a quick back row and some very fast backs and they will be a threat.
“But our team as a group has its goals and we can do very well at this World Cup.
“The match against the All Blacks in July (Samoa were beaten 25-16 by the world champions in Apia) was an awesome experience for us and I think it showed we have what it takes.”