Alec Swann - You’ll have to wait to see if Saints are stronger

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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This piece was going to be about the latest shenanigans concerning the Heineken Cup, or the future lack of one is a certian two countries get their way, but expanding the theme of not particularly well disguised greed would only go so far.

So sticking with the rugby theme, instead it will be directed towards the goings-on at Franklin’s Gardens.

Last weekend’s 38-11 thumping of Exeter Chiefs on home turf represented an ideal start to a campaign when it is to be hoped that some major silverware will find its way into the trophy cabinet.

But if that is to occur then it will take a raising of the bar to make the jump from the very good to outstanding because the Saints have been found slightly wanting when it has come to the crunch in recent seasons.

They have recruited well over the summer, that is fairly obvious, and everything in the garden - pun intended - is looking rosy as things stand.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet as there is a gruelling eight months to go before the gongs are dished out and some promise, at this moment in time, is only that.

And for that reason I hope that I don’t have to read, or listen to, any more soundbites stating that this season there is greater strength in depth in Jim Mallinder’s squad.

Year after year, this tired old cliche is trotted out, so much so that any pre-season build-up wouldn’t be complete without it.

Yet the irony is this belief can only be proved, or otherwise, once a season has been consigned to the history books.

There are autumn internationals to deal with, the Six Nations to get through and the inevitable injuries to overcome and these factors will determine if that aforementioned strength actually exists.

Names scibbled down on a piece of paper, as many a team has discovered, count for absolutely nothing and the proof, and this will never change, is to be found in the proverbial pudding.

The Saints will be in the top echelons of the Premiership and they will fancy their chances in the Heineken Cup, it doesn’t take a genius to come up with that prediction.

And if I was a supporter, I’d be hoping that those cliches become reality and they are indeed strong enough, come May, to jump that final hurdle.