Alan Dickens felt George North was out to prove a point as Saints smashed Harlequins to secure a semi-final spot in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday night.
North, who had been withdrawn due to tightness in his legs prior to Saints' win at Sale on the previous weekend, started the scoring at Franklin's Gardens, having been released by Wales earlier in the week.
His country wanted him to get some game time, and the winger played the full 80 minutes in a 36-10 Saints success.
Dickens was delighted with how North performed and Saints' interim head coach knows that puts the player in a good position ahead of Wales' Six Nations game against England on February 10.
"We were pleased George North was back involved," Dickens said.
"It was the first game he'd started for us since the Champions Cup game against Saracens here (in October).
"You could see he had a point to prove.
"Playing well for us puts him in the shop window internationally and it gives him the best chances to get in the Wales side.
"We wish him well."
Saints were comprehensive winners against Quins, banishing memories of the 50-21 defeat to the same side at Twickenham on December 30.
Ken Pisi scored twice, with Tom Stephenson, Ahsee Tuala and North also crossing the whitewash.
It booked a semi-final spot in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in March, and Saints will now hope Exeter, Newcastle and Leicester fail to secure bonus-point wins this weekend as that would guarantee the black, green and gold a home tie in the final four.
"We were inaccurate in the second half, but we did what we needed to do," Dickens said of the win against Quins.
"We got the win and it puts us in the position that we're ahead of them in the pecking order so we could get a home semi-final (Saints and Quins both finished on 15 points in the pool stages).
"We knew what we needed to do. We knew it came down to tries and then points difference and we finished 12 ahead of them so it's good."