Mallinder criticises Saints defence

Published: Saturday 3rd January 2015 by The News Editor

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Northampton boss Jim Mallinder was critical of his defence as his side came through a frenzied nine-try clash with Aviva Premiership strugglers Newcastle.

The Falcons left a sold out Franklin’s Gardens with a point thanks to four tries from Chris Harris, George McGuigan, Alex Tait and Richard Mayhew, but the champions ran in five tries of their own as they picked up a bonus point in a 39-31 victory.

The Saints showed their class in attack with tries from Stephen Myler, George Pisi, Calum Clark, Luther Burrell and a penalty try.

But Mallinder will be concerned about a defence that looked vulnerable whenever a young Newcastle side attacked, after shipping three tries against Harlequins last week.

“In attack there were moments of brilliance, we scored some good tries and could have had two or three more, so there was some very pleasing aspects to our attacking play, but our defence was very disappointing,” said Mallinder.

“I think we have conceded more tries this last couple of weeks than we have all season, we need to sharpen up in that area. I think a lot of it is mental, we need to make sure we don’t concede from first phase and from as many mauls as we did today.

“Credit to Newcastle they did it last week against Saracens and did it again this week and pushed us close. We have threats all over the field, we are playing pretty well, but not outstanding, so it is pleasing to take five points.”

Mallinder paid tribute to fly-half Myler, whose 17 points saw him become only the second player to reach 2,000 points for Northampton, the other being Paul Grayson.

“He has been here longer than me and is still playing well and kicking goals,” said Mallinder. “To achieve that milestone is phenomenal. A lot of our good play is through Stephen, he doesn’t get the headlines but he is the main man that our attacking play comes through.”

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards was delighted with the display from his young side, which is starting to show real improvement under attack coach Dave Walder.

“We have a great crop of youngsters coming through and they are holding their own in the top flight,” said Richards.

“That pleases me greatly, the disappointing thing is conceding the field position to give them the tries a bit too easily, so we have got to tighten up in a few areas and then we will start winning a few more games.”

Published: Saturday 3rd January 2015 by The News Editor

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