Saints lock Courtney Lawes is revelling in his reunion with fellow ‘bruise brother’ Samu Manoa.
USA forward Manoa returned from international duty last week, lining up with Lawes in the Northampton pack.
The pair proceeded to make some of their trademark bone-crunching hits, with Kelly Brown feeling the force of Manoa and Owen Farrell stopped in his tracks by Lawes.
The physical approach that Saints’ two giants bring to the game is fearsome and London Irish are next in the firing line at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday.
“Being back with Samu is good,” said England star Lawes. “He’s a one of a kind player and I’m certainly glad he’s on my team. It’s good to have him back.
“He’s having a great season again and I’m looking forward to getting back on the pitch with him this weekend.”
Lawes and his Saints team-mates have hit a difficult run of games of late, losing four of their past five in all competitions.
But with Aviva Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup glory still very much up for grabs, the players are eager to put things right this weekend.
“We had a couple of bad games and we want to make up for that and push on,” said Lawes. “We want to really reach our peak for the end of the season.
“We know London Irish have got nothing to lose and they’re certainly quite a maverick team.
“They’re always dangerous and we need to make sure we go out with a real professional attitude and play a solid game of rugby.”