Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has called on his team to get a winning start to the Premiership as they prepare to face Bath in their opening game.
Saints suffered a defeat to Worcester Warriors in their opening game last year and Mallinder is keen to avoid a similar start this time round.
They beat Bath in their final home game last season but former Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has since taken over as director of rugby so Mallinder knows it will be a different challenge on Saturday.
“Last season was difficult, we didn’t have the best of pre-seasons and that led to a start when we won one of our first four games – that really does put you on the back foot,” Mallinder, who led Saints to a fifth-place finish last time round, told the Northampton Chronicle.
“Most of our players have been training hard, some players joining the group a little bit later, but they are really refreshed and have come in and added something new to what we have. “We have been making sure everyone is fit, robust, ready to play and making sure our tactical game in attack and defence is prepared for a long season.
“We are in a good place and looking for a good start. “Bath is vitally important, particularly being at home it is vital that you get off to a flying start. We know a lot of the Bath players, but we do not know what style of rugby they will be playing, new coach, new director of rugby. “We want to work hard and make sure our game is up to speed.”