England flanker Teimana Harrison has set his sights on making the number eight shirt his own for club side Northampton Saints.
The 25-year-old started at the back of the scrum in Saturday’s East Midlands derby win over Leicester.
And he believes he has the versatility to shine in the role left vacant by Louis Picamoles’ move to Montpellier.
“They are massive boots to fill and we’ve got amazing competition here,” Harrison told BBC Radio Northampton.
“Mitch Eadie, Lewis Ludlam and Sam Dickinson are still here, and Woody (Tom Wood) and Gibbo (Jamie Gibson) – it’s good competition in the back row.”
Northampton’s win over the Tigers was a big boost for the club after a thrashing by Saracens in their opening Premiership game of the season, which Harrison missed.
“If you look back at all the games when I’ve played well, it’s usually been in the eight jersey, so I’ll be putting my hand up for that this season,” said the New Zealand-born forward.
“I think it’s the freedom of carrying. Seven is more defensive role in the modern game.
“I love defence, I love being physical but eight is the perfect mix – off scrums you are carrying, I’m always the ‘plus one’ off line-outs and carrying, but then again I defend off the tail of line-outs, so it uses my physicality, and so for me it’s the perfect balance.”
Northampton return to action on Friday with a home game against Bath.