Jim Mallinder hails impact of Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler
Northampton Saints' director of rugby Jim Mallinder praised the performance of Stephen Myler after the fly-half guided them to an impressive 32-12 triumph over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Myler scored 12 points with three conversions and two penalties, while his tactical kicking consistently pinned the hosts back in their own half.
It allowed the Saints to build pressure and eventually score four tries through Ken Pisi, Michael Paterson, Mikey Haywood and Ethan Waller.
Mallinder's men are now just four points off Bath, who reside in the final Aviva Premiership play-off position, and the Midlanders' boss was delighted with Myler's display.
He said: "You don't play in the Premiership for 10 years, score so many points and make so many appearances if you're not a good player and Stephen is.
"He showed the value of experience in that position and some of his kicking was outstanding tonight."
Mallinder was also pleased with how they adapted to the conditions having trained in the dry during the week.
"It was a good controlled display," he added. "Even though it was dry down in Northampton, we spoke about the likelihood of it going to be wet up here. The team played with real good control which you need to do in these conditions.
"Our back three played well, we got into really good field positions to cover Sale's attacking and kicking threats and we probably did that a bit better than they did."
With Myler controlling the game and kicking the points, Sale's director of rugby Steve Diamond also thought that the opposing fly-half was crucial in the result, describing the pivot's performance as a "masterclass" in how to deal with wet-weather rugby.
However, Diamond was mostly concerned by his team's display, believing that some of the players are potentially thinking about the end of the season already.
He said: "That may be a problem with three or four of our players. They've put the cue in the rack as they say, and it's not acceptable. They won't be getting picked again if that's the mentality.
"We got out-enthused, which doesn't happen often down here, and I'm not happy about it. There are one or two of our lads who have got to look at themselves.
"If they've got aspirations to play at the highest level, they've got to do it here and I don't think one or two set themselves up very well tonight."