GEORGE PISI believes Saints are an ‘underdog team’ in the Aviva Premiership this season.
Jim Mallinder’s men are as long as 13/2 with some bookmakers to claim victory in the grand final at Twickenham on Saturday, May 25 next year.
Pisi, who scooped the club’s supporters’ and players’ player of the season awards in his first year at the club, realises his side are rated below the likes of Harlequins and Leicester.
But the Samoan centre says that will just make the Saints squad work harder as they aim to prove the pundits wrong by clinching the title.
“We’ve had a really tough pre-season and as a team there’s a lot of people doubting we can make the finals and even make the top four,” he said. “We’re one of those underdog teams in there.
“We haven’t got big names in our team so for us it’s about really working as a team and really pushing forward in these first couple of weeks and also the last weeks.”
Saints travel to Gloucester for the Premiership curtain-raiser on Saturday and there will be a host of new faces in the travelling party.
Mallinder has made seven new signings this summer, three of whom can play at centre, and Pisi is enjoying adjusting to his new team-mates after spending the majority of last season playing alongside James Downey, who has left Saints for Munster.
“It’s a good thing for us and the team to have new players come in and bring new ideas in and also it’s going to change how we play,” said the 26-year-old.
“We’ve also got the experience of the new boys so for us it’s gelling together and hopefully we can bring out that flair in the games.
“The big Irishman (Downey), you can’t take anything away from him, he was class last season but these boys coming in can bring a lot more to the table.
“They’re different types of players and they’re a lot faster than the big Irishman, and a lot more skilful than the big Irishman but the big Irishman will always have that big backside of his to run around.
“The boys that have come in, Luther Burrell, James Wilson and Dom Waldouck, are skilful players and they’re keen. That’s the main thing about a rugby player, that they’re keen to get the position.”