Northampton Saints may have endured rather than enjoyed their start to the season, but prop Alex Waller insists things are looking up after four straight wins in all competitions.
The Midlands side had lost three of their first four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches but last weekend’s narrow 18-17 win at Worcester Warriors has seen them jump up to sixth in the table.
Two Anglo-Welsh Cup wins against Newcastle Falcons and Gloucester Rugby, as well as a league victory against Gloucester Rugby, has seen the momentum build at Franklin’s Gardens.
And Waller has one target in mind, with a top-four finish at the end of the campaign a minimum requirement.
“We now need to kick on and start winning by two or three tries instead of the odd point. We want to make them more convincing and stop making them so nail-biting,” he said.
“We had a tough start to the season but we took a lot of those games very close and a different bounce here or there would have changed the game.
“We are not dwelling on that now though and now we are looking to kick on and get a run going. We are a top-four side and that is what we are all working towards.
Momentum continues to build – back to the Gardens for more Friday night lights!
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) November 19, 2016
“It is good to be able to convert the pressure we had been putting on into victories now. We have taken a lot of confidence from it, where perhaps we did not have as much at the start of the season.
“We are getting into it now. The internationals are all away and that helps bring us all together because we without a few our top players.”
In contrast, Friday night sees the Falcons travel down to Franklin’s Gardens hoping to end a four-game losing streak.
But with the Saints powerful packing running at full tilt, Waller is confident of a fifth straight victory for Jim Mallinder’s side.
“It is going to be a big test against the Falcons, they have not had the results they deserve so far this season,” he added.
“On their day they can beat anyone, they have a massive pack and some really exciting backs. But we have looked at them this week and come up with a few tricks.
“I am happy with how the front row has performed so far this season. I am playing a lot, which is great, and the pack is doing well.
“We had a blip against Castres but held off Montpellier. You won’t ever have the perfect season and there will be times when you slip up.
“No one likes to be pumped like that. It was a kick up the backside and it was a good realisation check because it hurts the pride and gives the lads extra motivation.”