Salesi Ma’afu says he can’t wait for more Saints first-team action after making his debut in the 19-13 defeat at Castres on Saturday.
The Australian tighthead prop was thrust into the heat of the Heineken Cup battle, starting for Northampton for the first time since joining from Western Force during the summer.
Ma’afu was brought in to sure up a Saints scrum that had creaked at Leicester a week earlier and he did a good job during his 60 minutes on the pitch.
Ospreys are next up, heading to Franklin’s Gardens for a Pool 1 clash on Sunday, and Ma’afu would love to be involved in another European encounter.
“It was great to get out there,” said the 30-year-old. “It was everything I looked forward to. I wasn’t disappointed with the challenge, hopefully I’ll get some more opportunities.
“I’m really proud to be a part of the team. Hopefully I’ll get some more game time this weekend and get a win.”
Ma’afu, who had been working on his fitness in Wanderers games since the start of the season, didn’t seem to struggle too much with the Heineken Cup intensity.
But he admitted the Castres clash was extremely tough, especially due to the size of the French champions’ pack.
“It was a pretty tough game up front, some big French forwards,” he said. “It was a good start to the tournament, but we’re disappointed with the result.
“It was a big focus to get the ball and deny them any opportunities with the quality backs they have. I think we did a good job in that area but a lot of improvements are needed for next week.
“Results are what matters and we’re going to have to put in a big effort to get one over the Ospreys.
“The French champions were never going to be easy at home and we’ll just have to work harder to get some results.”