Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd is hoping to capitalise on the home advantage as they face French club Racing 92 in the opening game of the Heineken Champions Cup at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.
The Saints have won four out of their five homes games in this season's Gallagher Premiership but had an indifferent opening in last year's Champions Cup where they suffered a 12-16 defeat to Bordeaux Begles with only Dan Biggar kicking four penalties in the game.
The defeat set the tone for Northampton's rest of the campaign as it was followed by another 19-35 defeat to Leinster in the second round which led to their exit with Covid-19 disrupting the rest of the pool stages.
“That Bordeaux fixture last year was one that we reflect on; it probably got away [from us], I think,” he said.
“We had the better of that game for long periods of time and we weren’t ruthless enough to nail it off. They’re a good side and had enjoyed a good couple of years in France, and Racing are the same.
“And we know that if you want to have a chance in the competition, you’ve probably got to do reasonably well in your home matches to pick up some valuable points.”
The last time Northampton faced Racing was during the group stage of 2015/16 season and Boyd is wary of the challenge ahead.
“You’re probably slightly less familiar with your opposition,” he added.
“You play people in your home country regularly and so you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re dealing with.
“When you come to play against a French side that we haven’t played for a long period of time, whilst you need to do your homework, you’ve also got to concentrate on yourself, making sure you get your own game right and then just tweak that for what they bring on that occasion.”