Lock Alex Moon expects Northampton Saints’ forwards division to play a key role in this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership trip to Gloucester.
The men in Black, Green and Gold travel to Kingsholm for their first league encounter since Boxing Day’s victory over Worcester Warriors on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm).
Moon will start the clash amongst the replacements for Saints but will hope to make his impact off the bench.
And the 24-year-old second row behemoth revealed the Northampton pack are well aware of what to expect from the Cherry and Whites.
“They’re a massive maul threat,” he said. “As soon as they get that going they can run all their plays off of it, so for us forwards-wise, it’s very much on us.
“We’re going to be rusty because it’s five weeks since we played but mauling can help us overcome that.
“You can always be physical and maul and if we can nullify theirs and get ours going, it will be good for us.”Alex Moon
“We had a training game here last Friday and it was a big emphasis for us; we know that mauling game is their biggest threat.”
Saints’ second-row department is packed full of contenders for places at the moment, but Moon insists the depth in the squad is only helping everyone in the group to improve.
He and David Ribbans are on the fringes of the England set-up, with Courtney Lawes selected for his tenth consecutive Six Nations Championship – meanwhile December’s Club player of the month Nick Isiekwe has caught the eye with his performances, Alex Coles boasts huge potential and Lewis Bean recently impressed on loan at Glasgow Warriors.
Moon said: “At other clubs, there might be second row rooms where players don’t want to help each other because they may give others the edge, but it’s not like that at all here.
“We’ve got a group chat called ‘lineout nauses’ where we’re all constantly talking with each other about lineout stuff or stuff around the field and [Saints forwards coach] Phil Dowson is really good at leading all that, being the admin.
“Dows has got to manage expectations because if four or five of us are playing well, we’ll expect to be in the team.
“He tells us where we stand and why we’re in the team or not, and we’re in a good situation with that at the moment.”