Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Saints boss rues 'stupid' tries

Jim Mallinder is eager for Northampton to come out of their recent slump

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder said his squad would need to "stick together" after their fourth defeat in a row came about in heartbreaking fashion.

After battling from 15 points down to lead Harlequins 30-24 with the 80 minutes up, Ben Botica barged over for a try and converted to steal a 31-30 win.

Mallinder wants to find a suitable response at Newport next Sunday and said: "We need to stick together, go down to Wales and get a good win. We are going through a down period and we need to get back to winning ways."

He added: "We are very disappointed to concede that late try. The three first-half tries were stupid really as well. We conceded tries too easily, they were all our mistakes and all preventable."

Sam Smith scored two tries thanks to two wild passes from Ryan Lamb, and an overthrown lineout gifted Harry Sloan a try. A stern talking-to from Mallinder at half-time saw Saints come back with tries from Luther Burrell and Tom May.

"At half-time I said, 'Let's simplify things'," said Mallinder. "Our possession was fantastic from the scrum and lineout, and we said, 'Let's look after the ball, take the simple option and not the impossible one'.

"I am not going to criticise anybody, but there were two tries we didn't have to concede and an overthrow at our lineout. They are parts of our game we will look at and need to cut out. Ryan Lamb generally had a very good game but he did make a couple of bad passes."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea saluted the industry in his team after they kept pushing for victory even after slipping behind.

He will have George Lowe back from injury next week, and Lowe is set to take over at centre from Matt Hopper, whose performance was singled out by O'Shea.

The Quins boss said: "I said to Matt Hopper, 'Can we have just one more 80 minutes and take next week off', because we will have George Lowe back, and he was outstanding for us, as he has been all season. The work ethic was fantastic. Even in the second half the work ethic in defence when we were under massive pressure was great."

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