North: Saints have more to give in Prem

Northampton and Wales wing George North says the Saints are “nowhere near the perfect performance” despite travelling to the Kingsholm on top of the Premiership standings ahead of their clash with Gloucester on Saturday.

Jim Mallinder’s side have made a dramatic turnaround since their insipid 55-24 defeat by Saracens in the opening weekend of the competition, recording four wins on the bounce.

North’s return to form has contributed to their surge up the table, but the Wales international urges caution over an impressive start.

“You never want to begin a season on a result like that [against Saracens], especially in your first outing when we wanted to set out our stall. It couldn’t have been any further from what we’re about,” North said.

“We dusted ourselves down and focused on taking each week as it comes. It’s been about us not getting ahead of ourselves. Last season we got too worried about other results and things, and we lost our way.

“That Saracens loss had a big exclamation sign around it, but we’ve come together since. We’re nowhere near the perfect performance but we’re building nicely.

“After last season our goal is to finish in the top four and we feel like we’re a top four team. To be top now is testament to the work we’ve done so far, but you can’t rest on that.”

Northampton are bolstered by the return of England captain Dylan Hartley, while Piers Francis will make his Saints debut.

The Press Association contributed to this report.