Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Mallinder buoyed ahead of Euro tie

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder will take his side into next weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-final in upbeat mood following Saturday's confidence-boosting 53-24 Aviva Premiership win over Sale Sharks.

Saints scored eight tries at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday afternoon to lift spirits ahead of next Sunday's European last-eight tie against Ulster at Milton Keynes - and Mallinder fancies his team's chances.

He said: "It's going to be a really tough game, but it's one we are capable of winning."

Mallinder was particularly impressed by his dominant pack, whose supremacy forced two penalty tries and provided a strong foundation for several others.

"Sale were struggling a little bit up front," he said. "But they put us under a lot of pressure in the first 40 or 50 minutes."

Sale lost scrum-half Dwayne Peel, who was knocked out in a collision after only 13 minutes, but the Wales international said afterwards that he was "okay". The Sharks suffered another blow when hooker Neil Briggs was sent off after collecting a second yellow card for his part in a punch-up straight after lock Wame Lewaravu scored their second try.

Steve Diamond, their executive director of sport, failed to appear at the post-match press conference but Mallinder said: "They will have been disappointed to lose Peel to injury, and then with the sending-off.

"But they have some good players and people like Charlie Hodgson can make them play. At half-time we were still not in the clear, despite scoring our first-half tries."

Aside from the two penalty tries, Saints' other scores came from scrum-half Lee Dickson, England winger Chris Ashton, prop Brian Mujati, England flanker Tom Wood and replacements Bruce Reihana and Phil Dowson, with fly-half Stephen Myler kicking 13 points.

Sale replied with tries from replacement hooker Marc Jones and lock Lewaravu, with former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicking 14 points.

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph