Phil Dowson is revelling in Saints’ position at the Aviva Premiership summit – but has stressed it currently means very little.
Dowson skippered Northampton to a 17-16 victory at Exeter on Saturday, moving them above Saracens to the top of the standings.
Saints look in good shape to secure a top-two finish in the league this season, but are determined to guard against complacency.
And Dowson, though enjoying the club’s current standing, is leading the charge, stressing it’s what happens at the end of the campaign that matters most.
“I had enough years at Newcastle where we were bottom of the league,” said the experienced flanker. “But, as it stands, it (being top) doesn’t count for anything at the moment.
“We want to be top of the league when the final whistle’s blown after round 22. It means nothing at the moment, but it’s certainly a nice position to be in.”
Saints went top thanks to Saracens’ surprise defeat to London Irish at Allianz Park on Saturday.
That game ended before Northampton walked on to the Sandy Park pitch, acting as a timely warning for Jim Mallinder’s men.
“Saracens were top of the table, they’d been tearing up at home and it makes you think you’ve got to be on your game, because anyone in this league can get turned over,” said Dowson.
“It’s a wake-up call of wherever you are in the league you can get beaten and everyone’s gunning for you.”