Sam Dickinson admits anything other than a Premiership title win would be seen as a failure at Saints this season.
The powerhouse No.8 helped his side get off to a flyer on Saturday, as they eased to a 38-11 victory against Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens.
It was a stunning first performance from Saints and Dickinson, who was making his first start for the club following his recovery from a broken arm that ruled him out of action last season.
And the former Rotherham Titans forward is now aiming to keep doing his bit as Northampton continue to wipe away memories of May’s Premiership final defeat to Leicester.
“I don’t think anyone would ever say they’re not trying to aim for anything that’s not one step better than last year,” said Dickinson, when asked about Saints’ ambitions for this season.
“That’s what’s on everyone’s mind. If we can’t do that, we’ve failed. That’s what the target is.”
Dickinson was named man of the match after putting in a dominant display at the Gardens last weekend.
And he was clearly feeling the emotion of a day which had been a long time in the making after sustaining the arm injury in one of his final games for his old club.
“It’s tough to put into words,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s been a while coming for me.
“I’ve been working up to this point and the amount of support I’ve got from everyone here, from right at the top to the players around me, has been absolutely brilliant.
“Without them I don’t think I’d have made it, so it was an amazing day.”