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Jim Mallinder feels Northampton are getting it right when it matters

Jim Mallinder believes Northampton are on course to make the play-offs after getting back into the Aviva Premiership's top four with a 29-23 win over Harlequins.

In a thrilling encounter at Franklin's Gardens, Saints ran in four tries to secure a try-bonus victory, with Quins having to settle for just one point despite leading by eight early in the second half.

Ahead of a clash with Wasps next week, Saints director of rugby Mallinder believes his team are starting to find their form as the season approaches its climax.

He said: "We were pleased to defend the lead and come away with five points. It was generally a very good performance.

"Defensively, we had a couple of lapses where we let them score relatively easy tries without having to do too much.

"We scored some cracking team tries, which I was pleased about.

"Certainly, bits of our defence we need to work on, but overall it was pretty good.

"We're back in the top four and that's where we wanted to get back to.

"We had a disappointing start to the season but we've been working hard.

"Particularly over the Six Nations period, we've done well, won the majority of our games and it's just nice to get these international players back.

"I was really impressed with George North, who was outstanding for us."

Alex Waller and Courtney Lawes went over in the first half for Saints but Quins led at the break thanks to Tim Visser's stunning try.

The visitors extended that lead when Jack Clifford raced over early in the second half, but tries from Ben Foden and Harry Mallinder proved the difference.

Conor O'Shea was understandably frustrated at letting a lead slip but backed his team to finish the season strongly.

He said: "It was a very high quality game between two good sides. It's never going to be easy coming to Franklin's Gardens.

"I thought we had a real opportunity as we got into the second half and we got that lead from Jack's (Clifford) score.

"But there were some big penalties that went Northampton's way and the whole momentum shifts into your half. Those are the margins at the very highest level.

"We can't control anything ourselves now. We've just got to do a job against Newcastle next week and keep on playing to the best of our ability.

"We've got so much that we need to do for the remainder of this season."

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