Northampton Saints finished top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table last season but prop Alex Waller insists any spot in the top four would suffice this time around.
The Saints, who lifted the trophy in 2014, amassed 76 points from 22 regular season games last term to earn a home semi-final against Saracens.
However, they were beaten at Franklin’s Gardens by Mark McCall’s charges, who had finished fourth in the table and went on to beat Bath Rugby in the final.
This time around, Northampton have made a slow start to the Aviva Premiership Rugby season, slipping up against newly-promoted Worcester Warriors on the opening weekend and losing to struggling London Irish on Saturday.
They lie fifth after seven rounds – already 14 points off the league leaders – but loosehead Waller is not about to hit the panic button.
“There are plenty of rounds to go and we are sitting in fifth, which isn’t the end of the world,” he said.
“There are still plenty of games left and, as we saw last season, it is not about who finishes top. Once you are in the top four, it’s anyone’s ball game.”
That being said, Waller admits last weekend’s 25-23 defeat at the Madejski Stadium was a bitter pill to swallow.
The Exiles, who had failed to pick up a solitary point from their opening six league games, grabbed a last-gasp penalty try – converted by Shane Geraghty – to clinch victory.
And Waller is determined to ensure Northampton learn their lessons ahead of a clash with in-form Exeter Chiefs on Friday.
“You have got to look at the video, as painful as it is,” he added. “That was the first part, then you sit down to have a few frank and honest conversations.
“We were disappointed. We are better than that and we don’t want to perform like that again. There is only one way we can put it right and that is to play well this weekend.
“It wasn’t a great performance but thankfully it’s not the end of the season and we have the opportunity to put it right. We don’t want that to happen again.”
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