Vasily Artemyev admits he will have to have his wits about him when Northampton Saints entertain Worcester Warriors on Saturday as his side pursue a fourth straight win in this season’s Aviva Premiership.
Artemyev and co have made a perfect start to the season in terms of results, kicking things off with a hard-fought win at Gloucester Rugby before edging past Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens and downing Bath Rugby at the Rec on Friday.
But Russian flyer Artemyev, who has yet to cross the try-line this season, believes there is plenty of room for improvement, even if it’s a far cry from the start Saints made to last campaign, when they lost four of their give opening fixtures.
And while Saints have the luxury of playing their next two Aviva Premiership matches at home – starting with the Warriors on Saturday – he’s only too aware of the threat Worcester pose.
“They are a very good side and we have seen that from their performances,” said Artemyev.
“They have some very good runners who can hurt you from all over the pitch and so it’s important for me and for all us to be aware of that.
“It’s a derby and we are playing at home, it’s always nice to be playing at the Gardens in front of our home crowd.
“But that increases the pressure and the expectation and we know that Worcester are going to give us a very difficult game on Saturday.
“In terms of results we have got what we wanted this season but we think there are areas where we can improve the performance and we’ll look to do that against Worcester.”
While Northampton have won their opening three games Worcester are still waiting to taste victory this season, although a 16-16 draw with Gloucester last time out did put a stop to a run of six-straight defeats.
But despite finally halting the loss column captain Dean Schofield insists his Warriors are hungry for so much more.
“We need to pick ourselves up off the floor after the result last week and everyone is hungry to get that win under our belt,” he said.
“I have worked with Jim Mallinder and Dorian West and know what they are all about and they play a good brand of rugby and have some great forward work.
“But we have some good forwards too and we are up for the fight to finally get that first win on the board and we are ready to give as good as we get.”
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (52nd Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege, Peter Huckle