Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Mallinder calls for calm

Jim Mallinder has urged his Northampton squad to stay grounded despite the big win

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder says his side won't get carried away after sealing their spot in the Aviva Premiership play-offs with a seven try thrashing of Sale.

Jamie Elliott and James Wilson scored a brace each with Luther Burrell, Lee Dickson and Tom Wood also touching down in the 47-7 win at Franklin's Gardens. It was an impressive display but Northampton have lost every game to the top three sides this season and will face an away trip to either Saracens or Leicester in the semi-finals.

Mallinder said: "We won't get carried away with this win. We have had some good results recently, but we were well beaten against Leicester and we won't forget that."

He went on: "Having said that we have seen the top teams lose recently and a semi-final is a one-off game. We know it is going to be hard, because this season we have struggled against the top sides, but we have got a chance and that is all you need.

"The semi-finals are a one off, so what we have got to do is look forward to going to Harlequins for the last regular game and look to get a win there, which would be a good scalp away from home and that would set us up nicely to probably travelling to wherever.

"When you come up against top sides you can't just bully them, you have got to be able to play and the pleasing thing is we did play, getting all 15 men involved. The back three with Ben Foden played well and it was really pleasing to see James Wilson coming off the bench and adding to that."

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond denied the young side he sent out was anything to do with gaining more money through playing more English qualified players. Instead he insisted the seven changes he made to the side that beat Gloucester was about giving his youngsters experience against a top four side.

"We have hit our quota already," said Diamond. "It is nothing to do with that. It was about getting some experience, to come to a place like Northampton.

"We have had a hard season. Since Christmas we have had to psychologically get them up for every game and we have won seven of the 10.

"Today was just one push too far, we just couldn't keep up with them. Our young front row got taught a lesson, which is good for them, they will certainly be better for it."

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