Auterac happy Saints pack has been given green light to attack

Earlier this week, the expected announcement of Francois van Wyk's summer switch to Leicester Tigers arrived.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 7:00 am
Nick Auterac

Van Wyk was never truly able to establish himself at loosehead for Saints, despite some very promising showings.

And now a man who will help to fill the void is looking to make sure he is able to leave his mark.

Nick Auterac has been enjoying a run in the team as he shares the loosehead load with Alex Waller.

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And the former Bath and Harlequins prop is loving being in the thick of the action right now.

"It's been good recently," Auterac said.

"I've got some game time and that's ultimately what you want as a player.

"Selfishly, scrums have gone pretty well so I've been pretty happy.

"I'm enjoying it here and I just look forward to getting out there and playing each week."

Auterac has been part of a Saints scrum that has really started to find its feet in recent months.

The black, green and gold were hugely dominant in battles against the likes of Exeter and Bath.

And rather than just using it as a platform from which to play, they are now using it as a way of milking penalties and gaining crucial field position.

"We were shown in a meeting this week that we've won something like 22 penalties from our last 38 scrums," Auterac said.

"It's what any prop wants - to be part of a pack that's going forward.

"We've been given the green light this year to go after teams a bit more.

"Previously we maybe wanted to play away from the scrum more, but in this league set piece is massive and you have to go after teams at both scrum and lineout time.

"To be given the green light to go after teams this season is something that excites me because its what you pride yourself on and what you think about at night."

Auterac is now focusing his mind on squaring up to a Sale Sharks side who pride themselves on the physicality of their pack.

And he said: "Sale have got some big South African men in their team, but we have some big players also.

"There's no reason we can't go after them.

"Alex Sanderson going there will add a different dimension to the way they play.

"I've seen their defence has become quite dominant and he seems to have brought that from the Sarries way.

"They've got a lot of big men and they're just big.

"It should be a good game."

The next two weeks see Saints face two members of the current Gallagher Premiership top four as Bristol Bears come to the Gardens eight days after Sale.

"The table is tight and we need to make sure we're really in that top four," Auterac said.

"We feel we should have won the games in the past couple of weeks and at the moment we're in fifth, but we want to be pushing for top four.

"We want to comfortably be in the top four and we're going to keep fighting for that.

"We've got Sale and Bristol and it's a big few weeks.

"I don't think this period will define the season but it will be a big decider in where we go."

Auterac is clearly enjoying life at Saints, having moved to the club from Harlequins last summer.

He said: “The club's been really good.

“I've enjoyed being here and the boys are good.

“There's good young core of lads coming through who are really quite together and that makes for a nice environment, especially when they are playing as well.

“Everyone's been really friendly and I don't think anyone's had enough of me yet!”