Courtney Lawes says he will have no problem treating his England pals as enemies when Saints take on Leicester Tigers today (ko 3pm).
The imposing second row forward will be one of a number of Red Rose internationals involved in the clash at Franklin’s Gardens.
The likes of Geoff Parling, Ben Youngs and Toby Flood will line-up for the Tigers in what promises to be a titanic Premiership tussle.
But Lawes, who is known for his hard-hitting style, will have no issue with going full pelt at some of the men he played alongside during the recent Six Nations.
“In rugby you’re always playing against your friends, especially when you get to your mid-20s, you’ve met pretty much everyone,” said the 24-year-old.
“You’re playing against people you know well and a lot of friends a lot of the time so you’ve just got to go out there and treat them like the enemy. There’ll be no problem there really.”
Taking the stellar cast list into account, it should be some show at the Gardens as both sides aim to enhance their hopes of a place in the Aviva Premiership play-offs.
Lawes is expecting a real battle between two powerhouse packs and he believes the outcome of the game will hinge on who is most switched on from the off.
He said: “They’ve got all their boys, (Tom) Youngsy and Dan Cole, and they’re all really good players but we’ve got our team and we’ve got some big boys in our pack as well so it will be a big match up.
“I’m sure it will be close in the scrum and in the lineout and the team that’s most switched on will come away with the win.”