West believes Saints are in great shape ahead of Paris match

Saints forwards coach Dorian West
Saints forwards coach Dorian West

Dorian West admits Saints have never started a European campaign in such a strong position.

And he is hoping they can use their early-season momentum to earn an opening night victory at Pool 5 rivals Racing Metro on Saturday.

Saints have won five of their first six Aviva Premiership games and been able to rest and rotate on their way to the summit of England’s top tier.

They face Top 14 giants Racing on Saturday evening full of belief, having built on last season’s Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup triumphs.

And forwards coach West said: “We felt pretty similar last year, but we’ve had another year with these players.

“We didn’t change much over the summer, kept the same group and every extra week, month, year you spend with the group the better it is. We’re possibly at our strongest.”

However, West is eager to avoid placing too much emphasis on winning in France, knowing Saturday’s result alone will not determine Saints’ fate.

They must also take on Ospreys and Treviso in the pool stages and know what they need to do to progress.

“It’s important that you win your home games and along the way you need to win one, possibly two away games if you’re group’s particularly tight,” said West.

“We’ll be up for it this weekend, we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got and we know if we can get a win on the road it will be crucial.

“It’s something different from the Premiership and they’re games we look forward to.

“It’s a different challenge and you get to watch teams play in your analysis that you haven’t seen properly.

“We’re very excited to be playing in Paris and it should be a good occasion.”