And the Australian prop is determined to help his new team-mates ensure there is no repeat of last October’s 39-17 mauling at the Madejski Stadium.
Saints went into that game on the back of a five-match winning streak at the start of the previous campaign.
But they were undone by a determined Irish side and will be desperate to ensure another strong start – Northampton have won four of their first six Premiership games – doesn’t go to waste this weekend.
“I’m well aware of what happened there last season,” said Ma’afu, a summer recruit from Western Force. “I guess it’s why it’s important we go down there and back up a good performance from last weekend.
“We want to go down there and really push hard for a good win. We’ve got to show some character.”
Saints cruised to a comprehensive 41-20 success against rivals Saracens last weekend, with a performance built on a big forward effort.
Ma’afu played his part in that and he knows a similar showing will be required on Sunday.
“It was an area of the game where we looked to assert some dominance, get ourselves in the game and get our backs in the game,” he said.
“If we were going to win the game, it was an area where we really had to put our foot down. We’ve been going well over the last few weeks and it’s good.
“Now we’ve got produce another good performance. We’ve got to test ourselves in that area, back it up and not be too complacent with our performance.”