Late notice no problem for Saints prop Painter

Ehren Painter came in for Owen Franks on derby day
Ehren Painter came in for Owen Franks on derby day

Ehren Painter says the mood was more one of excitement than trepidation for Saints' stand-in stars against Leicester Tigers last weekend.

And the 21-year-old prop is now looking forward to featuring in more big matches in the weeks to come.

Painter came in at late notice last Saturday, replacing Owen Franks, who picked up a hand injury.

Api Ratuniyarawa and James Grayson also got the nod hours before kick-off following the withdrawals of Courtney Lawes and Dan Biggar.

But the changes didn't affect Saints as they delivered a sublime showing in a 36-13 Gallagher Premiership success at Franklin's Gardens.

And Painter said: "It was really pleasing.

"We were looking forward to the game in front of a sold-out crowd, which made it more exciting.

"We got hit with the challenge of three experienced boys dropping out but credit to all the boys, they stepped up and everyone knows their roles.

"We were ready to roll at a moment's notice.

"I found out I might be playing earlier in the week and it was all pretty late notice, but we're always around those scenarios so if it happens everyone knows what they're doing and we're ready to rock and roll.

"It's another really good opportunity.

"The boys we lost, Owen, Biggs and Courts, are super experienced lads and, as Boydy (Saints boss Chris Boyd) said, it required an extra five per cent so we could get our performance onto the pitch."

Tigers had few solutions to the speed and ability of Saints.

And Painter added: "They picked a very big and heavy team and we knew what they would bring.

"We needed to nullify that with winning collisions and the breakdown, and set piece never goes away.

"As soon as we did that, we were ready to put our game plan on the pitch and we were pretty hot.

"We were really happy because it felt more of a complete performance than just doing well in the first half or second half or vice versa.

"We had to be confident but our confidence isn't arrogance because we knew as soon as we gave them a sniff they would score.

"But we were confident we could put our game plan and our work onto them and be successful."

Saints are now preparing for another huge home game as unbeaten Leinster come calling in the Champions Cup on Saturday.

And Painter said: "It's brilliant. I can't wait.

"This block of five games, last weekend, Leinster, Leinster, Sale and Gloucester, are all huge games.

"We're ready for it and it's super exciting for everyone."