Ken Pisi says he has never been part of the kind of settled squad Saints now have.
But he insists there is no relaxation among a group that has seen few changes this summer.
Joel Hodgson has arrived from Newcastle Falcons to provide cover for the half-back positions, but Saints decided retention rather than recruitment was the priority this year.
They claimed both the Amlin Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership crowns last season and have managed to keep that successful squad together.
And former North Harbour player Pisi, who is part of a wing department that includes the likes of George North and Jamie Elliott, said: “It’s pretty much the same bunch of guys from last season and we’re all used to each other. It’s just about getting better now and moving forward.
“It’s the first time I’ve been part of something like this, having the same bunch of guys together. It’s a good vibe after last season and it’s continuing to move upwards.”
But with youngsters such as Tom Collins and Howard Packman making a name for themselves at Franklin’s Gardens, there is plenty of competition for places.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us all this season,” said Pisi.
“Our position is never secure with the young guys coming up so it’s a good test for us.”