When teams are struggling, the reputations of the players involved can plummet.
And, conversely, the status of those men not getting game time can rise, with supporters desperate to see changes that can positively affect the team.
For Juan Pablo Estelles, the latter is true.
The Argentina sevens ace was drafted in during the summer after representing his country at the Rio Olympics, but he had to bide his time to win a first-team place.
In fact, he started for Argentina before he started for Saints this season, impressing in an appearance against England at Twickenham on November 27.
If fans were keen to see him given a run before that game, the appetite only increased.
Questions would arise on social media every week as to why Estelles wasn’t being given a chance in a Saints side that was struggling to score tries.
And after the 28-year-old shone in a Wanderers game against Leicester on December 19, scoring twice, he finally found his way into the team.
Estelles had come off the bench during an Anglo-Welsh Cup win at Newcastle on November 6, but his first start was to come in the Aviva Premiership win over Sale Sharks four days after the Wanderers beat Leicester.
He was an unused replacement in the game at Gloucester on New Year’s Day, but did get involved from the bench last weekend, coming on after just 12 minutes to replace Jamie Elliott, who had dislocated his shoulder.
And if Estelles can now establish himself in the side during the Champions Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup games to come during the next four weeks, many fans will have their wish.
“It’s new to me, I’m not used to it,” said Estelles when asked about the messages he has received from Saints supporters.
“It surprised me and it’s really, really nice feedback that I get from fans.
“It’s been a really nice couple of weeks getting messages and it cheers me up.
“I really enjoy it.”
Estelles initially arrived at Saints on a three-month trial but he has done enough to extend his stay until at least the end of the season.
He found the initial pressure of proving himself difficult, but is glad he has come through it and been able to show what he is made of.
“At first I did feel a lot of pressure but putting pressure on myself is not a thing that helps me so I tried to stay calm, just enjoy every game and do the best for the team, not myself,” Estelles said.
“Once you relax, that’s when you get the most from yourself and now I’m trying to do that.
“I’m taking each day at a time now, no pressure.”
While Estelles played on the wing for Argentina against England and has been strutting his stuff for Saints there recently, he says outside centre is his preferred position.
“The position I like the most is 13, but I try to learn to play the most positions I can,” he said.
“I played at 12 for the Wandies and 14 or 11 now. It’s good to have different tools.”
Estelles’ autumn appearances against England and Scotland clearly gave the player the belief that he could cut it at Saints.
He said: “Playing against England was one of the best experiences ever. I wasn’t expecting to get the call but it came from upstairs.
“To play at Twickenham was amazing and it made me realise I could play at this level. I won’t ever forget it and no one can take it away from me.”