Naiyaravoro so eager to make history with Saints

Taqele Naiyaravoro hasn’t even been at Saints for a full season yet, but he’s already setting his sights on making some history.

Friday, 10th May 2019, 8:00 am
Taqele Naiyaravoro is setting his sights on the Premiership title

Naiyaravoro, who has scored 11 tries in 26 appearances, has been in fine form in recent weeks, excelling in successes against Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors.

He was too hot for the Warriors to handle last weekend as he scored twice in a sensational first-half display.

And the man of the match is now targeting more success in the coming weeks as he looks to propel fourth-placed Saints into the Gallagher Premiership play-offs and beyond.

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“It’s different from how Northampton has performed last season,” said Australian wing Naiyaravoro, who arrived from Super Rugby side the Waratahs last September.

“We can make history and we’ve really turned up this season.

“We want to finish on a really high note for this club.

“We’ll take it week by week, we’ve ticked off another box and Exeter will be a big game for us so we’re looking to get the job done there.”

Saints go to Exeter on May 18 hoping to claim the win that will definitely extend their season for at least another week.

The black, green and gold can book a play-off place with a win at Sandy Park - and Naiyaravoro will be key to their hopes if he can perform as he did last weekend.

The 27-year-old has blown hot and cold this season, but when he’s hot, he’s really hot.

And he feels he is now really settling in to life in England.

“It was a big shock when I first came in but I’m getting used to it now,” Naiyaravoro said.

“I’m getting to know the boys a lot more and the style of play so I’m enjoying it.

“I’ve learned to be more confident in myself and the team.

“I’m believing in what we can do out there as individuals and as a team.

“The team have got more trust in me so I’m enjoying it.”

The importance of last weekend’s win certainly wasn’t lost on Naiyaravoro as he revelled in giving the likes of Luther Burrell and Ken Pisi a winning Gardens send-off.

Both players were making their final appearance at the home of the Saints.

And Naiyaravoro said: “It was the last home game for the season and after what we’ve done this year, we wanted to turn it up again, especially to send Luther and Ken off on a high.

“It was emotional for us and we really wanted to finish off well at Franklin’s Gardens for them.

“Ken’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, he can’t stop smiling.

“They’ve given a lot to this club and I’m happy to take on the baton and continue what they’ve started.”

It hasn’t taken Naiyaravoro long to realise just how big a club Saints is.

And he has loved playing in front of the Franklin’s Gardens faithful this season.

“It’s a massive club and it’s a massive honour to be playing here in front of this crowd,” he said.

“It’s a different atmosphere to at home and I wouldn’t have played well without these fans.”

But now Naiyaravoro knows Saints must do more good work on the road as their bid for a second trophy - they won the Premiership Rugby Cup by beating Saracens at the Gardens earlier this season - continues.

“It (a play-off place) has been the goal so far and we’ve got another big week next week,” Naiyaravoro said.

“Trying to stay in the top four is our big plan now.”