King: Premiership table means nothing until halfway point

NOT GETTING CARRIED AWAY - Saints attack coach Alex King
NOT GETTING CARRIED AWAY - Saints attack coach Alex King

Alex King is reading little into Saints’ current lofty standing in the Aviva Premiership - and says it will take 11 games for the table to be a true reflection of where teams are at.

Saints have started the new campaign with four wins from their first five games and currently sit at the league’s summit.

They face Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens this afternoon, bidding to end the first block of the domestic games on a high ahead of the start of their Rugby Champions Cup campaign a week later.

But even if Saints do manage to pick up the points they desire today, attack coach King will not be getting carried away.

“It’s a competitive league and no one’s unbeaten,” he said.

“A fairer reflection will be where we are after 11 rounds when everyone’s played each other at least once.

“We’re not in a bad place, but there are a number of teams striving for that top four and we need to make sure we’re on our mettle every week.”

Traditional title challengers Leicester and Harlequins have struggled in the early weeks of the campaign, with the injury-ravaged Tigers currently languishing in the bottom three.

And King said: “The league’s getting more competitive every year.

“For teams with one or two injuries in important positions it’s difficult to be competitive and win every week.

“But those teams will bounce back, they’ve got too much quality not to.

“We just need to worry about ourselves and what we’re doing.”

The immediate task for Saints is to see off a Sale Sharks side who won the previous Premiership meeting between the sides.

That 19-6 defeat at the AJ Bell Stadium in March was tough for King and Co to take, and they know just what they will be up against this weekend.

“They are a tough team and it’s testament to the league how many teams are vying for those top six positions,” said King.

“They’ve qualified for Europe, which was a pretty good achievement last year, and they’ll want to push on.

“But we’re concentrating on ourselves and we want to confirm our position in the Premiership. It’s a massive game for us.”