Saints star Augustus relishing another Bulls fight

Juarno Augustus (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Juarno Augustus (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Juarno Augustus (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
There won't be many Saints players who know much about Vodacom Bulls - but Juarno Augustus certainly does!

The South African No.8 has been involved in many a tussle with the Pretoria-based outfit, having previously played for DHL Stormers before making his way to Northampton in 2021.

Augustus has also come through the South African age groups with some of the men he will square up to at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday night (kick-off 8pm).

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And he can't wait to clash with his compatriots in the quarter-finals of the Investec Champions Cup.

"I have played the Bulls since I was 19, so from the start of my professional career,” Augustus said.

"I have a few memories of playing against the Bulls, some good, some bad.

"They are quite physical. They pride themselves on having a big pack. It is going to be good for us, to see where we are physically.

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"They are coming here and we don’t lose here, or we don’t want to lose here.

"They are good at home, the attitude in Pretoria is a bit worse than anywhere in the world.

"I know a few of their players. I played Under-20s with some of them and I played at the Stormers with a few of them, too.

"It will be good to play against them.”

Stormers clashes with the Bulls were the kind of battles Saints players are used to against Leicester Tigers.

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And Augustus explained: “We used to call it north versus south, it is a massive derby in South Africa.

"The Bulls versus the Stormers, it is always tough playing against them.

"They try and keep the ball, almost like us, Northampton Saints, against Leicester.

"The best team and the strongest team on the day wins.

"I am looking forward to playing against them, hopefully we can pull it through.

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"It is always nice playing against guys you know and guys from back home as well.

"It will be fun, I am excited to go against them.”

The presence of Augustus will be key for Saints this weekend, not only because of his inside knowledge but also because of his sheer physicality.

And he says he has been refreshed and reinvigorated since returning from the break from action that came due to the Guinness Six Nations period.

“It has been up and down for me this season,” said the 26-year-old. “I started well in some of the warm-up games, then I injured my bicep tendon, torn it off the bone. So I was out for quite a while.

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"I came back and went off the bench, then I started the next game, then I got a concussion.

"I was out for a week then I played and got injured.

"It has been a bit stop-start for me, but I think the break we had for the Six Nations, it felt for me personally like another pre-season so I am going fresh into a so-called new season.

"So, hopefully I can get to the top of my game and help the team be successful this year.”

Saints have certainly been going the right way about it, sitting top of the Gallagher Premiership and now looking forward to an Investec Champions Cup quarter-final.

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"When I came here, the year before they made the Premiership semi-finals or just missed out on the semi-finals,” Augustus said.

"When I came we lost in the semi-finals against Leicester and last year against Saracens.

"We came so close.

"We had loads of youngsters coming through. They are senior players now and I think we are in a good spot to go for it.”

Augustus is clearly loving life at Saints right now.

And he added: “I am enjoying myself. It is fun coming to the club, being around the boys. It just feels natural.

“There is always a smile on the boys' faces, there’s never a dull moment.

“We have grown quite strong with one another.

“I am enjoying every single bit of it.”

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