Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mallinder lifted by his front-five

Jim Mallinder hailed his forwards after victory over Ulster

Northampton coach Jim Mallinder hailed the efforts of his pack after they avenged the defeat inflicted on them by Pool Four leaders Ulster in the first of their back-to-back Heineken Cup clashes.

"We had the determination to put the last game right," the coach said after his side had not only ended Ulster's 13-game winning run at a packed Ravenhill but had also kept them still just about in the running in the European race.

"We were bitterly disappointed with the first game and we got a lot of criticism from various places and I think as a team we were determined to put that right."

Mallinder was quick to praise his forwards after they hit back with a commanding performance after being bullied by Ulster in the first game.

"The front five were outstanding," stated Mallinder. "The set-piece went really well as did the breakdown. Last week we couldn't get any quick ball and we didn't get on the front foot at all. In this game from the start we were on the front foot with our forwards working really hard and we got some good width in our game."

As for Ulster coach Mark Anscombe, his first taste of defeat this season was clearly disappointing.

The New Zealander had no argument over the result and felt that his side would still bounce back and remain very much in control of Pool Four.

However, a suspected knee ligament injury to Ireland winger Tommy Bowe was potential blow for Anscombe to absorb as Ulster return to PRO12 duty against Leinster on Friday.

"It's sad because it's our first loss but we got beaten by a better team," Anscombe said. "We're still a good team and we'll bounce back.

"It happens and you've got to acknowledge it and respect it as they did well and deserved their victory. We've got to go back and look at what we need to do better."