New Saint Juarno Augustus has been busy making Northampton home in recent weeks, but now the bulldozing No.8 is ready to make his mark in Black, Green and Gold as the 2021/22 season draws ever closer.
Arriving at Franklin’s Gardens from the Stormers over the summer, the 23-year-old – affectionately nicknamed ‘Trokkie’ (truck) back in South Africa – is ready to turn the raw talent spotted by Saints’ director of rugby Chris Boyd into powerful performances in the Gallagher Premiership.
“I hope I can be physical,” Augustus said. “I’ll just try my best to be physical because I think that’s the reason [Saints] signed me.
“I’ll try to both give momentum and stop momentum.
“I’ll give my best and hopefully it works out for me and I can support everyone around me.”
At 6’2” and 116kg, Augustus is a physical presence ready to pack a punch in English rugby, and the young battering ram has already done some research on the kinds of challenges waiting for him when Saints’ Premiership campaign gets underway against Gloucester Rugby on Saturday 18 September (kick-off 3pm).
“I’ve actually watched a few games from here and some of the guys who played with me at the Stormers play in England,” Augustus added.
“I tried following it but all the games don’t get shown back at home, so I would just watch the games that were on TV.
“I watched Northampton play three times back at home and it made me excited coming here."Juarno Augustus
“I want to strive to help the team in any way I can, and with tight games and derby games I know the team really wants to win, so I want to contribute and do my part. Hopefully I’ll do good.
“It was a new experience that I wanted because I’ve been playing in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby and I wanted to try something new.
“Some of the guys who came over got called up for the Springboks and one of the reasons is because they came over and played against some big name players.
“It was one of the reasons why I came over; to test myself against the best in the world in this league. It’s an experience and something new for me.”
Augustus’ first opportunity to pull on a Black, Green and Gold jersey could come as early as this week, with Northampton taking on Bedford Blues in a friendly at Goldington Road on Friday evening, before rounding off preseason preparations against Ospreys at Franklin’s Gardens seven days later.
Now the new Saint has touched down in Northampton, Augustus is getting settled into life at the Club – with his new teammates already taking the South African under their wing.
He added: “I came over alone and I thought it was going to be tough, but on my first day when I got here everyone was very welcoming and it almost feels like home.
“Every day is nice for me and I enjoy it. I like being here with the brothers.
“I’m living with Jimmy Grayson at the moment because it’s quite difficult looking for a place to stay. They get advertised and then they’re gone again!
“He’s a local boy so he knows all the ins and outs and he helps me a lot, getting to know the Town.”
Augustus continued: “Teimana Harrison is a very important player too and we got along quite quickly. He’s like a big brother to me at training.
“When we do lineouts he tells me what the calls are and he always guides me. He’s like a big brother looking after me. It’s fun being around him and I can’t wait to play with him.
“It’s always good learning from people who play the game longer than me, like Teimana and Tom Wood, the guys in my position.”
But while learning from his peers is high on Augustus’ agenda, it’s the prospect of running out in front of a roaring Franklin’s Gardens that he’s really relishing.
“It’s a lovely town, a good community and good rugby so it’s all to look forward to,” Augustus said.
“I’ve heard this is the best stadium in England to play at because the field looks really good and the supporters fill the stadium up.
“Back home, I played once in front of a full stadium so I’d like to experience that here as well.”