While the Saints are keen to press on with their own ambitions in the top half of the Aviva Premiership table, Mikey Haywood has warned that battling Bristol are a totally different prospect from the side they beat earlier in the season.
The hooker scored the bonus point try in a comfortable 32-10 win at Ashton Gate back in September, but is expecting the Saints’ recent upturn in form to be matched by that of Saturday afternoon’s visitors to Franklin’s Gardens.
“Bristol are a totally different team from the one we played earlier in the season,” he told PremiershipRugby.com. “If they come and win here then they are going to start really pushing those above them and for us, it is a must-win game.
“They are a much more physical side. We know teams at the bottom are desperate for everything and you can see that in them and it is inspiring them.”
While Haywood showed respect a Bristol outfit currently on a four game winning run, he also remained clear and confident when it came to the Saints’ own ambitions for the remainder of the league season.
“Pushing for that top four spot is what we want to do and a win this weekend will go towards that,” he added.
“We have put in a couple of good performances now and Christmas gave us two big building blocks for us to push for that top four place.
“The confidence is rising massively – we are starting to take opportunities in attack and defence and we are starting to score tries. It may be just two wins but we look so much better.
“If we beat Bristol and Wasps beat Leicester then we are up to fifth – for us, that is not a bad place to be after the start we had.”
The Saints host Bristol in a big match on Saturday afternoon with implications throughout the Aviva Premiership. Make your voice count at Franklin’s Gardens by CLICKING HERE and following the straightforward instructions. Groups of tickets are available in Blocks 8, 15, 16 and 23, as well as the lower tier of the Elite Insurance Stand and the Barwell Stand, and by using [email protected] supporters can save themselves the admin fees, too!