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Skosan sets sights on Derby Day after ‘special’ debut

Northampton Saints wing Courtnall Skosan is not resting on his laurels after making a flying start to his time in the Black, Green and Gold jersey – with all eyes already on next weekend’s East Midlands Derby.

The 30-year-old South African international stepped into the hearts of Saints supporters in style during his debut on Friday evening, scoring a hat-trick of tries at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

In doing so, Skosan joined an illustrious group of players to score a treble on their club debuts in the Gallagher Premiership. Before Friday night, only three players had ever scored a hat-trick on debut in the English top flight, with the last man to achieve the feat doing so 14 years ago.

But the Springbok, who boasts 12 international caps for his country, is already looking ahead to Saints’ next match with the crucial clash against bitter rivals and league leaders Leicester Tigers now firmly on the horizon.

“What I’ve heard is that it’s the biggest game of the season so far,” he said. “We’ll come back in on Monday, prepare and see how we can fix the errors.

“The forwards did very well against Worcester and hopefully they can keep that going next weekend.

“I’m looking forward to next weekend and if I can be part of that game, it would be amazing.”

Skosan signed for Saints in the summer from Johannesburg’s Lions franchise, having made more than 100 appearances across the Super Rugby and Currie Cup competitions.

He opened his Saints account in the 28th minute, capitalising on Rory Hutchinson’s grubber after it was hacked forward by Tommy Freeman to scoop up the ball and score, sealing Northampton’s bonus point in the process.

His second try after half-time was the pick of the bunch, receiving a long pass from Dan Biggar wide on the left, before beating the covering defender and spectacularly diving over in the corner.

He completed his hat-trick just before the hour mark, cutting through the Warriors defence once again before finishing with a flourish to make it a debut to remember.

He added: “You couldn't ask for a better start than that. The boys made it special for me out there, they gave me a few easy run-ins, and it was just awesome to be out there and contributing to the team.

“It’s been a hard few weeks for me to get in here, get used to the boys and I can finally call them my family now that I have been out there and gone to work with them.

“I watched the London Irish game here at the Gardens and then got in that Tuesday for training, so I’ve been amongst the group for a few weeks now.

“The atmosphere against Worcester was special. I haven’t played in front of a crowd for about a year-and-a-half, so coming in here and having about 13,000 people inside the ground, it felt like rugby again.

“To hear everyone chanting ‘when the Saints go marching in’ was special. There are times when you feel down in the dumps, and times when the ball has been in play for a long time, and then you hear the fans chanting and it gives you some extra energy.

“For a winger, scoring tries is part of my job, to finish it off in the corners, and the boys put me in space. Luckily I was there to finish things off and I was happy to do that.”

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