Saints enjoying lack of outside expectation

Dylan Hartley feels Saints can upset the odds this season (picture: Dave Ikin)
Dylan Hartley feels Saints can upset the odds this season (picture: Dave Ikin)

Dylan Hartley believes a lack of outside expectation can help Saints upset the odds for the remainder of the season.

The black, green and gold sprung a Champions Cup surprise last Saturday, scoring five tries in a superb 34-21 victory against Clermont Auvergne.

The French giants had won all four of their Pool 2 matches prior to the trip to Northampton, but Saints, who had lost all of theirs, were too good on the night.

And they will now hope to cause another shock when they travel to Saracens for the final pool match this afternoon (kick-off 3.15pm).

If Saints can maintain the momentum garnered by the wins against Gloucester and Clermont, they will be full of belief when they return to Aviva Premiership action at Bath on February 9.

And Hartley, whose side currently sit 10th, said: “The good thing about the Premiership standings is there is only one way to look and that is up.

"We don’t really have expectation on us which is great.

"We have expectation on ourselves to be better.

"From the outside looking in people don’t really expect too much from us.

“We want to get better, we want to climb the table and we will just see what happens.”

First, Saints will look to knock Saracens out of Europe and claim revenge for the two heavy defeats they suffered at the hands of the Barnet-based team earlier this season.

“Games come thick and fast and tournaments come thick and fast," Hartley said.

"You beat Gloucester and then Clermont are coming to town and now it’s Saracens.

“It’s there, it’s the next big challenge but all we can do is focus on ourselves and the small things.

"There’s still a lot of things to work on."