With the first weekend of the European Champions Cup looming, Saints return to Franklin's Gardens to take on the current reigning double champions Saracens.
Saints' skipper Dylan Hartley said that the way the side had to fight their way into the top-tier of European rugby last season was difficult but spurred the team on over the offseason.
"It gave us something to focus on at the end of a poor season last year," Hartley commented at the European Champions Cup launch.
"It actually made us go into the summer with something positive to remember: three consecutive games at home which we won and we played really good rugby.
"We put ourselves in a good position to play against the best which is good for us. I look at our pool, it’s a deep pool, very deep, but we can swim.
"The good thing is: clear underdogs, but the way we’re going, we’d like to surprise a few people. We’ll keep our heads down and just quietly work away."
Coming into the first round of the competition as the underdogs in their pool, Hartley says Saints are hoping to provide a few surprises throughout this season's campaign.
"We are perceived to be weak. I’d rather people look at us and respect us, but you guys want to put the tag on it. Like I said, quietly we’re going to keep our heads down, work hard and apart from day one at Twickenham this year, things have been shaping up OK for us.
"So, like I said, we’ll keep our heads down and we’ll hope to surprise a few people.
"It’s also nice knowing that we’ve got Saracens in that first game and we know the level that will be expected to even compete with those guys, the current European champs.
"So like I said, we got a good lesson on day one, but they showed us how it’s done. So I’d almost thank them for that hiding on day one because since then, we’ve had to have a good look at ourselves, go away, work hard and improve and so far, it’s working for us."
Attention now turn to the European Champions Cup as Saints return to Franklin's Gardens to host Saracens.
Make sure you're a part of what's shaping up to be the biggest rematch of the season as Saints host Saracens for the European Champions Cup opener on October 15th!
Secure your spot now at bit.ly/SAI-SAR-EPCR