Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Mallinder hails defence

Jim Mallinder

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder handed his side's outstanding defence the credit for their 20-16 Aviva Premiership victory at Harlequins.

The Saints made it two wins from two matches as they followed up their opening-weekend victory over champions Leicester with their first away success over Harlequins for six years. Only a desperate rearguard action enabled Northampton to survive a late onslaught as Harlequins piled forward in search of a winning try.

And Mallinder said: "It wasn't a typical Northampton performance in terms of our attacking game. But it was good to get a breakaway try, good to score to get back in front at the end of the game but, mainly, you can put the win down to a lot of good defence."

He also praised England hooker Dylan Hartley, who crowned a combative display with the winning try in the 69th minute.

"Dylan led the team in his typical robust style. He was in their faces, his defence was very good and he loves to counter-ruck, going through if they don't commit enough numbers.

"Sometimes it gets him in a bit of bother but he's trying to do the right thing, staying on his feet and actually making the breakdown competitive."

Mallinder added: "To win two out of two at the start of the season is what you are after but we have Bath at home next week and then we go away to Saracens so it's a difficult start."

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