Stephen Myler believes Saints must start fast if they are to progress from the Heineken Cup’s ‘pool of death’.
Northampton head to Castres on Saturday knowing a win would set them up for a European campaign that also includes fixtures against Ospreys and Leinster.
It is the trickiest of assignments for Jim Mallinder’s men, who have failed to progress past the pool stages since reaching the final in 2011.
And Myler feels victory at the home of the French champions this weekend is a must if they are to have hope of ending that wait for a place in the knockout rounds.
“It’s important to get a good start, not only performance wise but to get some points on the board,” said the fly-half.
“We know it’s very tough to even get out of the group, particularly with the teams we’ve got in there, Leinster and Ospreys as well, who have got some big stars in their team.
“It’s going to be a tough group, but one we’re looking forward to getting stuck into.
“Hopefully we can come away with a win this week to set us on the right path.”
Myler played at full-back when Saints lost 21-16 at Castres last October but he is back in the driving seat at fly-half now and eyeing revenge for that reverse.
He said: “We’ve played them in the past few seasons in Europe and we’re expecting a very tough game.
“They beat us there last year and hopefully we’ll get a chance to overturn that result and get a much-needed start to the campaign that we’re looking for.
“We’ve had a good run of games now and we’ve shown in glimpses what kind of rugby we’re capable of.
“It’s very exciting for us to go to the home of the French champs and put in a good performance.”