Forwards coach Dorian West says it is important for the Saints to push on and get some good results during a long run of Aviva Premiership matches.
The Aviva Premiership is in the middle of a 10-week set of rounds, using what would have been the Anglo-Welsh Cup to make up for those weekends which were lost in September and October due to England’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup.
And with several squads up and down the country missing players on Six Nations duty the league table is beginning to bunch, with just five points separating Leicester in third place from Gloucester in eighth.
Indeed Saints’ own wins over Harlequins and London Irish have seen their own margin from the top four drop from double digits to just two points, and according to West every game is becoming increasingly crucial.
“We’re coming to the stage of the season where results are crucial,” he says in this week’s podcast. “It’s very tight in the league in that middle group and who’s going to get into the top four, so it’s a period where winning games is what you need.
“We’re in a stretch of games which is tough, and where you have to make sure you’re building towards the end of the season. You can’t predict any results – some of them last weekend were unbelievable – and we’ve always said that every team is capable of beating you, and I’m sure that there will be more twists and turns as the season goes on.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves.”
The Saints may be heading north on the back of a five-try win over London Irish which had Franklin’s Gardens buzzing last Saturday, but they are going to come up against a Falcons outfit on the back of their own five-match unbeaten streak on the Kingston Park plastic, and for whom every point is mattering in a three-way battle to avoid finishing bottom of the pile.
“Newcastle playing at home will be desperate to beat us and they’ve got a lot going for them at the moment,” West added. “They’ve got some momentum and are playing well, beating Bath, Leicester and Quins up there, so we know we’re not going to be able to take them lightly.
“There’s no way we’ll be doing that. We’ve been working hard this week to get the right result this weekend. We played with a lot of enthusiasm and energy last week and we were pleased with how things went.”
The full interview with Dorian West is available in this week’s podcast, along with extended chats with Stephen Myler, James Wilson and Reece Marshall. Listen for FREE at www.soundcloud.com/official-saints-rugby or subscribe via iTunes by searching for ‘Northampton Saints’.