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Mallinder hails powerful Burrell

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder hailed Luther Burrell as the England centre score twice for the champions in a six-try thrashing of London Welsh that secured top spot in the Aviva Premiership for the first time.

Burrell demonstrated all his power against a Welsh side that showed improvement in defence in the first half, conceding just two tries from Lee Dickson and Ahsee Tuala, before subsiding to a 46-0 defeat in the second period.

Dickson scored a second before Burrell touched down twice in six second-half minutes to seal the bonus point that sees Northampton secure first place in the Premiership. Jamie Elliott added another while Welsh, who are already relegated, were down to 14 men.

Mallinder said: "It is difficult to pick out individuals, but Luther ran very strongly all game and scored two good tries, he looked very good for us.

"It was quite a professional performance. It can be quite frustrating in games like this because you want to score every time you get the ball, but you know that is not going to happen. London Welsh defended very well in the first half, but we were confident playing down the slope in the second half that gaps would appear and so it happened.

"Teams do take quite a lot of breaking down, Welsh have stiffened up their defence a little bit, we saw that last week at Leicester. But we did what we had to do, all 23 players got game time and we didn't get any serious injuries which is encouraging.

"It is pleasing to finish top for the first time in the club's history, but we know it is all about winning the Premiership. You have got to win a home semi-final and then take that to Twickenham.

"We are where we want to be; we have a home semi-final, with a game to go which is awesome, but we need to make sure we get ourselves right for that semi-final."

Northampton said George North is progressing well after being out for the last four weeks because of concussion but Mallinder said he will consider whether resting players for next week's east midlands derby at Leicester. It is the final game of the regular season before the Premiership play-offs begin.

"Any game against Leicester is a good game, whether it is the academy or the first team, we have seen that over the years," said Mallinder. "Leicester are not going to go easily next week, I have just heard a brief report about their game at Wasps and that is a tremendous win for them. We look forward to next week, we will think about who to select over the next 48 hours."

London Welsh head coach Rowland Phillips felt there were good performances from his players that he can build on for next season in the Championship.

"This game was about learning for us and looking to take positives out of the game to build on for next season," said Phillips. "We have signed some good players for next season. We want to retain as many players from the current squad as possible, and then look to compliment them.

"We don't have a formula, you know what you need for your team to be competitive and come out of the Championship with the opportunity of promotion. We need to keep the spine of what we have here."


From Belfast Telegraph