Northampton Saints may have won every Aviva Premiership game they have played this season but prop Paul Doran Jones has urged caution ahead of their trip to London Irish on Saturday.
In contrast to Saints’ flying start Irish have made slow progress in their opening five games – picking up just one win against Bath – but Doran Jones claims you shouldn’t believe the form book.
After all, at this stage last season Northampton were toiling with just one win to their name but now sit pretty at the top of the standings.
And Doran Jones, capped four times by England, warned both side’s records could be turned on their head at the Madejski Stadium.
“Regardless of their start we obviously just worry about ourselves and we know they are always a difficult opponent,” said the 27-year-old.
“They have been on the wrong end of a couple of results and decisions and we need to be sure we go about our business and play how we have been doing.
“They have some exciting backs and some really good ball runners with the likes of Sailosi Tagicakibau, Topsy Ojo and Jonathan Joseph and they can kick points from anywhere.
“We have to make sure we contain them, start well up front and build on the performance against Wasps.
“No game is easy, especially away from home, and we will battle for everything and look to impose ourselves and I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
While the Exiles were defeated 35-11 by Worcester Warriors last Friday, they have won two of their last three home games and scrum-half Tomas O’Leary is eager to make that advantage count.
The Ireland international, who moved from Munster in the summer, also insists there are positives to take from their early-season performances.
“Against Gloucester we were very unfortunate, and we got a good result against Bath last time out at home so hopefully we can carry that on,” said O’Leary.
“Home advantage could prove important because we’ve been playing well there without really getting the results we deserved.
“It’s going to be an exciting challenge, there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves, we have to get back up and ready for the challenge.
“They have major strengths all over the park, but particularly up front they have a lot of dominance. If we can front up to that and stop their attacks we stand a great chance.”
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FFR, 1st Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart, Andrew Watson.