Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd predicts the Gallagher Premiership play-off race will only be settled on the final day of the regular season.
Saints host Gloucester at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday in a contest that will shape the battle for who finishes behind Exeter and Saracens, thereby securing an away spot in the semi-finals.
Nine points separate the rivals and victory would keep Northampton snapping at the heels of the top four.
“When you look at the league as a whole there are a lot of teams in there that will be hunting five victories from their final matches,” Boyd said.
“That obviously doesn’t work mathematically. There’s an awful lot to play for and it’s going to come right down to the wire.
“Every game is vital and on any given day in the Premiership there’s not much between a top, a middle, or a bottom of the table side.”
Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann takes comfort from knowing that his team are the masters of their own destiny.
“There are now just five matches left and no room for error for any team. It’s pressure rugby in all games,” Ackermann said.
“Northampton are playing great rugby, an exceptional brand, and you can see the influence of Chris Boyd.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge but we can control our own destiny, we know where we want to go and what we have to do.”