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Phil Dowson applauds ‘outstanding’ Juarno Augustus

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has lauded the impact South African number eight Juarno Augustus has made in recent weeks, following his outstanding display against Leinster. 

The powerful back-rower moved to Franklin’s Gardens in 2021, and has already made 59 appearances for the club in that time.

Speaking to Rugby Nause News, Dowson was full of praise for his number eight: “Over the last couple of seasons, Juarno has been the most impactful carrier in the league. He’s got most meters post-contact, he’s a freak of an athlete and I think the more times we get him on the ball, the better.

He added: “Juarno has been outstanding the past couple of seasons. He’s certainly found a bit of form in the last couple of weeks and I thought he was one of the standout players at Croke Park.”

Against Leinster, Augustus made 53 meters from 14 carries, and also beat five defenders in the process. He also made 14 tackles.

“He’s somebody who can get you over the game line,” Dowson continued. “Juarno has great footwork, he’s a big man, he’s got good skill set and can offload. Some of the tackles he made were outstanding as well; he is a very talented individual.”

“He’s definitely got the capability”-Dowson talks up Juarno Augustus for Springboks call-up

Juarno Augustus-Credit: IMAGO

In 2017, Augustus was named Player of the Tournament in the U20 World Championship, but he is still yet to win his first senior cap for the Springboks.

The closest he came was in 2020, when he was invited to play in the Springbok Green vs Springbok Gold invitational match; but given his rich vein of form at the moment Dowson feels he can make the step up to test level.

“He’s somebody that is always pushing to try and get better as well, and is desperate to play international rugby. If he performs like that on the big stages then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t.”

“I’m also conscious that South Africa is ram packed full of very very good back row players, so he’s going to have to work incredibly hard and be consistent in that space; but he’s definitely got the capability.”

As Dowson alluded to, competition for places in the Springbok back-row is strong. Leicester Tigers powerhouse Jasper Wiese currently holds a viper grip over the starting eight shirt, and players like Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi and Kwagga Smith are also part of a formidable squad.