After crossing the whitewash for the first time in Black, Green and Gold last weekend, prop Nick Auterac admits he is really relishing every moment spent in a Northampton Saints jersey.
Chris Boyd’s side got their season off to a flying start with a 34-20 victory over Gloucester Rugby, and 28-year-old Auterac made it an afternoon to remember as he charged over the line early in the second-half to help Northampton on their way to a try bonus point.
The loosehead was delighted to open his account for Saints, smiling all the way over the try line in front of the first unrestricted crowd at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens since early 2020.
“I was actually really happy with it, and if you were behind the posts you could see me grinning because I knew I was going to score,” said Auterac.
“There was literally no one in front of me and I was running towards the try line grinning. My mum forwarded me the video of the actual match footage and there’s me turning around and smiling.
“I was just really happy. It’s obviously rare I get to be on the end of scoring a try. In fact, the only other two tries I’ve scored as a professional player have been against Saints, so it’s good to be on the other side of it.”Nick Auterac
“One was 2016 at The Rec for Bath and the other was on that same side here at the Gardens, about 20 metres across, again for Bath. Now it’s nice to be scoring for Saints, hopefully it can be the first of many!”
Alongside scores from George Furbank, James Grayson and Tom Wood, Auterac’s try enabled Saints to secure the try bonus to start their Gallagher Premiership season with a full quota of league points – and Auterac and the side are acutely aware of how important the extra point could be, come the end of the season.
He added: “We spoke about it in preseason; you never know if you drop a point here and there, how it will affect you come the end of the season.
“Usually in the top four or top five, it can get quite tight come the end of the season, so being able to pick up those five points was good because we might need that extra point.”
But for Saints, attention has already turned towards a trip to Sandy Park this weekend to face last season’s runners-up, Exeter Chiefs – and Auterac knows that Saints’ good fortunes in Devon last season will mean little as the sides run out this Saturday.
“Exeter is always a tough place to go and they’re going to have that added ‘oomph’ from coming off a result they wouldn’t have been too happy with against Leicester,” Auterac said.
“They were in the Premiership final last year and they’re going to be hurting after last week.
“They’ve made a habit of being good at home, so we’re expecting a reaction from them, but it’s nice to go down there and have a hard game — and hopefully get a good victory.”