Mallinder believes Saints need to work harder

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has said that the Northampton Saints team named to play London Irish in Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 16 on Sunday afternoon will have to improve their performance from last weekend.

The Saints saw off Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday, relying on seven Stephen Myler penalties and a Ryan Lamb drop-goal to earn the four league points.

But with London Irish only having lost once on home turf in the premiership this season, Mallinder has said that accuracy and execution will all have to step up several notches if the positive run is to continue.

“Last Saturday was an important win for us,” he said. “As much as you’d like to win with style every week sometimes you have to grind out the result and grabbing your opportunities when you can.

“This is what we did last weekend and although we need the same again in terms of taking our chances we will need to be much better in our all round performance. At times we tried to play too hard last weekend and didn’t look after the ball, and we will have to control ourselves more.

“London Irish have a good home record this season, and with some powerful runners out wide like Jonathan Joseph and Sailosi Tagicakibau we will have to be alert defensively. They are very organised and as we saw here at Franklin’s Gardens in September will play right until the last minute. And in Tom Homer they have one of the best goal kickers in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

“But the spirit in training has been good this week and we are feeling positive ahead of the trip to Reading.”

Starting XV:
15 Paul Diggin
14 Vasily Artemyev
13 George Pisi
12 James Downey
11 Noah Cato
10 Stephen Myler
9 Martin Roberts
1 Soane Tonga’uiha
2 Andy Long
3 Paul Doran Jones
4 Mark Sorenson
5 Christian Day
6 Samu Mamoa
7 Calum Clark (capt)
8 Roger Wilson

16 Ross McMillan
17 Alex Waller
18 Brian Mujati
19 James Craig
20 Ben Nutley
21 Ryan Glynn
22 Ryan Lamb
23 Tom May