Sam Dickinson admits Northampton Saints are relishing being the team to catch in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season.
The 30-year-old helped his side extend their lead at the top of the table last weekend, as they came from behind to beat title rivals Bath Rugby 21-13, becoming the first side to win at the Rec this league season.
And having opened up a gap of nine points at the Aviva Premiership Rugby summit, with third-placed Saracens losing at Sale Sharks, Dickinson insists the Saints will not be resting on their laurels in their quest for a sixth successive play-off spot.
“It was a brilliant win for us,” he said. “We are back on right track now in terms of how we want our performances to go, and to go to a place like Bath who were undefeated at home this season and get the win was a huge achievement.
“To go down so early in the game was disappointing for us, but then the lads showed a lot of patience to get back into the game, and we managed to strangle them out in the second-half and hold on which was very pleasing.
“Of course we are happy with where we are in the table but that doesn’t mean we will sit back on it. We still have to crack on, take each week as it comes and try and extend that lead if possible.
“But we remember what it was like last year when we were chasing Saracens all season. They were a tough team to catch and we are hoping we can make the other guys chasing us feel the same way this year.
“Being the ones leading doesn’t feel too different to us week on week. We just want to achieve the best result we can in every game and make sure we turn up on the day and perform.”
Dickinson, who played 31 of Northampton’s 39 games in all competitions last term, has featured in the Saints’ last seven games since returning from a three-month lay-off after neck surgery.
And the big second-row, who can also be utilised at No.8 as he showed so effectively against Bath, is relieved to be back in Aviva Premiership Rugby action and looking forward to the challenge of keeping his starting spot.
He said: “Since I’ve been back it’s been pretty much non-stop for me, so it’s been great to be involved. Fishy (Jon Fisher) obviously came in when I was injured and did really well, but he’s unfortunately been injured of late so I’ve taken on the game-time.
“Now he’s back, and we have a lot of the other boys coming back from injury as well, so there will be pressure on all positions in the squad.
“That’s important to have within a squad as you know there is always someone waiting if you don’t perform your best. So everyone is feeling that pressure and it helps you to push on and improve.
“Last year was an incredible season for me and I was hoping to build on it this year. But whatever level you’re playing at it’s always frustrating when you’re not playing and you want to get out there.
“It’s just one of those things, but hopefully I’m back on track now even if I am lacking a bit of fitness.”
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