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Northampton boss Jim Mallinder reveals the reason for Alex King's exit

Published 15/10/2016

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder explained why Alex King left the club
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder explained why Alex King left the club

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder revealed that Alex King paid the price for Saints' faltering attack.

King left the club on Friday less than 12 months after being linked with a vacancy on England's coaching team after a poor start to the domestic season that has seen Northampton lose four of their six Aviva Premiership matches.

The malaise was not carried into Europe, however, as they opened their Champions Cup group campaign with an ugly 16-14 victory over Montpellier.

Mallinder is in no immediate rush to appoint King's replacement as attack coach and admitted the decision to part company was not taken lightly.

"Sometimes you just need a bit of a change and our attack wasn't going fantastically well because we were second from bottom in terms of tries scored this season," Mallinder said.

"This is my 10th season here and in that time we've only changed one member of the coaching staff, so we're fairly stable, but sometimes it's important that you do move on and that's what we've done.

"Only time will tell if it was right and hopefully over the next few weeks we'll improve that side of the game.

"When you work with these people seven days a week you socialise with them, you go away with them and you get very close to them. He's a good friend of mine and also a very good coach.

"I'm sure there will be lots of sides looking to employ him and he'll be back coaching very soon."

Stephen Myler's injury-time penalty - the final act of a scrappy showdown at Franklin's Gardens - clinched victory over a giant Montpellier team that sits second in the French Top 14.

"You never see a side that big and physical as that. They're the biggest side I've ever come across. Their back row was bigger than our second row," Mallinder said.

"They have an enormous pack. It's professional sport and you have to find ways of winning games.

"(Montpellier coach) Jake White has his way and that's to get lots of big players and dominate the set piece.

"You know they're coming. They're doing well in France and are a tough side to beat.

"Getting the win was the important thing. It was pretty ugly in the end. We knew about the size and physicality of Montpellier.

"We talked about moving them around because we didn't really want to get caught up in their set piece.

"We achieved that pretty well in the first half. The rain made it an arm wrestle but we got there in the end."

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