Since Northampton Saints won their first Premiership title back in 2014, they have reached the semi finals having also finished fifth and seventh.
It’s not surprising therefore, that Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder has called on his players for greater consistency.
The Saints have failed to finish in the top four in their previous two seasons, but Mallinder is confident his side can change their fortune.
“Consistency is key. Successful teams are the ones that set a level and keep that going throughout the season” said Mallinder.
“It’s playing week in week out at home and away. We’ve seen that with a lot of teams, you can win at home one week and then just not perform the following week and that happened to us.”
All twelve Premiership sides have recruited and brought in reinforcements ahead of the new season. Strength in depth will play its part as the season draws on.
But for Mallinder and his Northampton side, any guarantees of a successful season will only come with convincing performances. Something we’ve not been accustomed to seeing in the previous two seasons and competition for places will be as fierce as ever.
“It seems to get harder and harder. Teams seem more competitive because teams at the top aren’t getting weaker – your Saracens, your Wasps, Exeter and Leicester.”
Mallinder added “The mid-table teams always seem to improve their players and even those underneath seem to be getting stronger.
“Newcastle have strengthened their squad. Sale, they seem to so it’s very competitive.
Northampton have been particularly busy in adding to their squad. The majority of which coming from Super Rugby.
Asked on what the bearing his new players will have in the squad and in the competition, Mallinder said:
“A real big impact. We’ve got a number of lads like Piers [Francis] coming from the southern hemisphere.
“We’ve got [Cobus] Reinach coming from South Africa, Rob Horne from Australia, so we’ve got this mixture of experience.
“I’m hoping that the experience combined with what we’ve already got at the club really stands us in good stead.
“They’ve only come in recently but as the season progresses then we’ll get more and more out of them and hopefully that will benefit us.”
“We’ve had a shorter pre-season than normal because of qualifying for the Champions Cup. We’re looking forward to it and every game we’ll fight.”
Northampton will face Saracens at Twickenham on Saturday as part of the London Double Header.
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