Northampton Saints may have added the likes of Kieran Brookes, Jamie Gibson and Victor Matfield to their ranks over the summer, but according to skipper Lee Dickson it is their young guns that will make or break their Aviva Premiership Rugby season.
The 30-year-old scrum-half could not lead his side to back-to-back Aviva Premiership Rugby titles last term, as they were narrowly beaten 29-24 by eventual winners Saracens in the semi-finals.
And with the start of the new season looming this weekend, Dickson is confident his side has what it takes to lift the trophy again next May.
But with a far more packed schedule than usual this season, he admits using the whole squad is going to be more important than ever before.
“I think given that it’s now a Premiership game every week with only European fixtures breaking them up the league is going to look pretty different this year,” he said.
“There are no down weeks where some squads rotate and put the younger lads in, but we’ve shown in preseason that some of our younger guys are really starting to shine a bit so they are going to be really important going forward.
“There’s the Six Nations coming up after the World Cup, and so guys will be going away on international duty where the importance of the rest of the squad is going to be huge.
“You can’t play week in, week out these days in such a tough league, so you’re needing three guys in each position to be able to stand up and do exactly the same job.
“So that’s where preseason has been so good for us as we’ve rotated round, boys have got a lot of reps, and we think we can start the season with a bang.”
Northampton went unbeaten in their pre-season matches, with a last-gasp 33-27 comeback victory against Round 1 opponents Worcester Warriors capping off a fine start to the campaign.
And Dickson is keen to get the momentum started early on if he is to lead his side to their second Aviva Premiership Rugby title.
He added: “A million per cent the aim is to win the Premiership this year. You shouldn’t play rugby if you don’t want to win and Northampton is a proud place where we always want to be in that top four and in with a chance of winning.
“Big events like the Premiership final or a European final are what we are here for, but it’s going to be tough as there are no easy games.
“It’s going to be a full-on season and the squad is going to be a big thing. So we’ve got to manage that week-by-week and make sure we get on that winning curve so we are in the top four come the end of the season.”
The 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby Season kicks off on 16 October. To see all of the fixtures click here.