Painter loves working with 'pretty unique' Saints prop Hill

Ehren Painter is loving working with 'brilliant' and 'really unique' Saints team-mate Paul Hill.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 7:00 am
Ehren Painter

The pair have become Saints' go-to-guys at tighthead, often sharing minutes in the black, green and gold.

Saints have, at times, adopted a 40/40 split policy so that both tightheads play a half apiece.

It is something that has worked well, and behind the scenes the duo are driving each other on to improve.

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"Hilly is brilliant," Painter said.

"He's a character, he really is.

"He's really unique.

"When it comes to the rugby it's strictly business, but it's a good partnership we've got going.

"I've enjoyed starting games and I feel like mine and Hilly's relationship has come on.

"We help each other out and we've both really enjoyed our role in the team.

"The first game of the season here, starting in front of that crowd and running out with all the flames was awesome for me.

"It was really, really cool."

At just 23, there is plenty more to come from Painter, while Hill is also a player who has been tipped to achieve big things during his career.

They have helped Saints to rack up two wins from as many matches in the Gallagher Premiership this season.

And Painter said: "It's started really well from an outcome point of view, but we know that as a group of players we've got a lot more to give.

"The Gloucester game was pretty close at times but we've been able to win in both games.

"We were close to giving Exeter the win but we've grown as a team and we were able to squeak out a victory thanks to Furbs (George Furbank).

"We're just hoping that on Saturday against London Irish it's not going to be close, it's not going to be patches of good play, it's going to be a consistent 80-minute performance.

"We don't want to ease off the gas and let teams come back - we want a collective 80 minutes."

Painter and Hill both played a half each as Saints secured a superb 26-24 win against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park last weekend.

It is a strategy that helps to keep both players fresh and firing.

And Painter explained: "I find out in the warm-up so it's not like I go into the week thinking I'm only going to get 40 minutes.

"I find out in the warm-up and sometimes it might change.

"If it's not 40/40, it might be 50/30 or something like that so either way we're both getting a decent amount of time to have a good influence on the game."

So what does Painter feel he still needs to improve on in a Saints shirt?

"For me, it's the impacts away from the scrum, lineout and maul," Painter said.

"It's about getting my carries, being more dominant in defence and those always seem to be the work-ons with me.

"Obviously role one is scrum and set piece and that's what I see as my strength.

"Then it's just getting as much as I can out of my loose play, being impactful and helping the team out."