Saints centre Pisi issues warning to friend Fotuali’i

George Pisi (left) is ready to square up to Kahn Fotuali'i (right) (picture: Linda Dawson)

George Pisi (left) is ready to square up to Kahn Fotuali'i (right) (picture: Linda Dawson)

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George Pisi is ready to give Kahn Fotuali’i a warm welcome back to Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday afternoon.

Fotuali’i left Saints after his contract expired during the summer and he has since joined Bath.

The Samoan scrum-half’s first competitive game for the west country club is set to be against his old team at the Gardens this weekend.

And Pisi says he wants to put a big hit on Fotuali’i when the two come face to face.

“It will be good to see the real young fella there,” said a smiling Pisi.

“We’ve had a lot of banter between us during the past couple of weeks because we’re playing him first up here and it’s going to be intense.

“We won’t take a back seat with him - we’ll be after him.

“I’d rather put one (a big hit) on him before he puts one on me.

“We still text each other, but on the field it’s a different story. We’re friends off the field, but we’re enemies on the field.”

So will it be strange for Pisi to play against such a close friend and former team-mate?

“Yes and no,” he said. “Kahn was here for about three years and we’ve played together so many times. It will be funny.”

Fotuali’i arrived at Saints from Ospreys in the summer of 2013 and helped the club claim a first Premiership title a year later.

He was also an Amlin Challenge Cup winner during the same trophy-laden season, and Pisi recognises what a big contribution the sparky scrum-half made.

“He was important for us,” Pisi said. “He passed on his experience to new half-backs coming through and around the team he was really good.

“We do miss him, but we’ve got some new guys coming in, and Groomy (Nic Groom) is doing really well.

“(Tom) Kessell has been here since last year and of course we’ve got the old man Dicko (Lee Dickson) still going. We’ve got strength in that area.”

Saints will hope that strength will help them beat Bath this weekend.

And Pisi said: “They’ve got a really attacking backline and a big forward pack, but it’s a bit unpredictable because we don’t really know what they’re going to do.

“They’ve only had their coaches come in last week, but we’re not going to underestimate how good they can be.

“It will be a good game and it will be fun.”