Ahsee Tuala arrived at Saints as a bearded figure carrying a few extra pounds.
Now, he’s a clean-shaven, lean, mean backline machine who is fully settled at Franklin’s Gardens.
Nine months after arriving as injury cover for Ben Foden, the Samoan, who can play at full-back or on the wing, has the life he hoped for.
His family and children are now with him, after a lengthy initial spell separated by a large portion of the globe, and he is fighting for a starting spot in the biggest games.
And, as his broad smile suggests, Tuala couldn’t be much happier right now.
“I’m feeling really settled now and just enjoying my time here,” said the former Counties Manukau player, who initially joined on a deal that was set to expire during the summer.
“My family is here now, stayting just up the road and they’re loving it - probably not the weather, but they’re enjoying their time here.
“We’ve got a little house, me, my wife and my kids. I was away from them for around four months so it’s good to have them here and get them settled.
“It definitely helps me.
“Because they were on the other side of the world, I was getting a bit worried, not knowing what they were up to.
“Having them here has been a massive boost.
“My fiancee has been a massive part of my life and it’s good to have her here.”
Tuala, nicknamed Ace, made a big impression at Saints towards the back end of last season.
He made 10 appearances, including in big games against the likes of Saracens and Clermont Auvergne, and became a trusted member of the first-team squad.
The 26-year-old has also played in four matches this season, with a couple of his cameos coming on the wing.
“I’ve got a couple of runs there,” said Tuala.
“I had to shed a couple of pounds for it, but it’s been good.
“It’s just good to get some opportunities and some game time, wherever it is, at wing or at full-back.”
As he says, Tuala did have to shed some bulk when he arrived at Saints as he sought to get to his fighting weight.
The Samoan has lost 8kgs in total and is feeling better for it.
“I had to shed weight and it was good for my game,” Tuala said.
“I keep running around and getting fit.
“I had a good chat with Marc (Finney) our trainer and our nutritionist Emma (Gardner) the first time I got here and set some goals. I’ve achieved those goals.”
Now Tuala has his sights on achieving another: helping Saints beat Glasgow Warriors in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
“It should be a good one,” he said.
“They’re a quality side so we’ve got to go up there and just play the best rugby we can and hope for the best outcome.
“I’m just enjoying every opportunity I get with this team, and hopefully there are more to come.”