Tom Collins is revelling in the added responsibility of stepping in for Saints’ international stars.
The speedy back has started the past two games, with Ken Pisi and George North currently away with Samoa and Wales respectively.
Collins grabbed an eye-catching try double in the victory over Newcastle two weeks ago and helped Saints see off Scarlets last Friday.
And he is now setting his sights on Friday’s Aviva Premiership clash with Exeter Chiefs as he continues to enjoy earning the trust of the coaches.
“The responsibility is massive,” said the 20-year-old. “You come into the team and you’ve got a lot of pressure on your head with coaches trusting you in big games.
“You want to do well for the players around you and for yourself. It is massive pressure, but you need to take the responsibility on the chin and, moving forward, the coaches aren’t going to trust you if you don’t take your chances.
“It is a massive responsibility as a young lad coming into the squad, but you take your chance and you’ve just got to do your little things well and hopefully you’ll come away with a good game with the lads.”
Collins has already played plenty of big games games for Saints, including starting the memorable Heineken Cup win at Leinster last season.
And he believes his game has improved hugely.
“It’s just not being as erratic really.” said Collins, when asked what he has learned. “Some games I would do stuff I wouldn’t normally do, just because I’d be nervous, but it’s calmed me down quite a lot.
“It switches your head on and makes you think about those tiny bits of detail that you need to do well which will help the team out.
“It is massive for a young lad and with players a year or two younger than me like Howard (Packman) and Josh Skelcey, once they get a bit of game time it will help them as well.”