Hooker Sam Matavesi knows that Northampton Saints will have a fight on their hands as they head to the Ricoh Arena in the Gallagher Premiership this weekend.
The men in Black, Green and Gold travel to face Wasps off the back of two bonus-point wins, looking for their third successive victory for the first time since November 2019.
Saints’ last outing in Coventry provided a nail-biting clash and Matavesi was on the field as the side claimed their first-ever Premiership win at the Ricoh with an overtime try.
And as the side prepare to make the short trip to Wasps again, Northampton are under no illusions about the challenges they will face this year – with the 29-year-old Fijian hooker insisting that Saints’ recent run of form will mean little if they cannot keep it up.
“Winning at Gloucester was absolutely massive for us,” Matavesi said. “The biggest thing we got from that game was that it puts us in a very good place going forwards; if you come in on a Monday for a week after a win, it’s a massive boost. But if we don’t back it up against Wasps, it’s not going to mean that much.
“For us, this weekend is a massive test. I think Wasps are similar to us in that both teams want to play and that’s good for everyone. It’s going to be interesting; we’ve come off a win, they’ve come off a loss.
“But we’ve got to be on it; let’s be honest, they’re a top team – for the last few weeks that’s been proven.”Sam Matavesi
“And if we want to back our results up like we do, our performance level has got to be at least an eight out of ten to be in with a chance. It’s going to be different with a few lads away for internationals so it’s a big week.”
Spaces within Saints’ forward pack are hotly-contested at the moment and the No. 2 shirt is no different, but Matavesi is enjoying the competition for places and believes it is driving the performance of Northampton’s set-piece.
Matavesi said: “I think if your set-piece – your lineout, your scrum – are going well, you’re in the game then.
“For me as a hooker, the focus is mostly scrum and lineout and I thought that went well against Gloucester; the lineout had good tempo and then in the second half we were really on top in the scrum.
“We’ve obviously got four fit hookers, and everyone wants to play but that battle is nice. At the minute, if it’s me that’s playing, I’ve got to make sure that I’m performing because if I don’t perform on a Saturday then someone else is going to play.
“And that’s what’s been apparent since I’ve come here [to Saints]. If you don’t play well and back up your performances, then someone else will, which really good for the squad.”