Juarno Augustus admitted that running out onto the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens turf for the first time was a moment he will cherish forever.
The 23-year-old No.8 – a summer signing from South African side, the Stormers – made his Gallagher Premiership debut off the bench during Saints’ 34-20 victory over Gloucester Rugby on Saturday afternoon.
Augustus entered the fray after 50 minutes to a rapturous welcome from the Gardens crowd, celebrating his first competitive appearance in Northampton colours with a couple of big carries and a crucial turnover in the dying moments of the game.
“I just want to say thanks to the coaches and the Saints family for welcoming me here as they have done,” he said. “It’s a great honour and privilege to play in front of Saints’ supporters.
“I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent and be able to help show what Saints can do.
“When I was busy warming up, I was so nervous – and then when they called my name over the speakers, I was a bit star-struck with the reception I had.”Juarno Augustus
“On my way running on, I was telling myself it’s just a game, and you can do good if you want to.
“I just want to thank everyone for the opportunity again and it’s fantastic playing here, helping my team-mates.”
Saints’ performance kept the crowd in good voice, with George Furbank, James Grayson, Nick Auterac and Tom Wood all crossing the whitewash to help Northampton on their way to a bonus-point triumph over the Cherry & Whites.
And Augustus could not hide his delight after his introduction to the Premiership, with the atmosphere and intensity of the rugby surpassing his expectations.
He added: “For me playing here, it’s so different because back home the stadiums are bigger, so they don’t get filled up as much.
“At the Gardens, running out for the warm-up and playing in front of so many supporters, it’s amazing.
“Hopefully every home game we get that support from the Saints family. It would be amazing for them to help us through the competition.
“Hopefully my family could watch the game – they were looking all week for a way to watch it in South Africa!
“I can't wait for many more special occasions at the Gardens.”