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Mallinder pleased North breaks duck

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder was pleased to see big signing George North get the matter of scoring his first try for the club "out of the way" as he opened his account in a five-try thrashing of Sale.

The home crowd lifted the Franklin's Gardens roof when the British Lion winger applied the simplest of finishes after Jamie Elliott offloaded to him inches from the try-line.

And Mallinder is now looking forward to many more tries from the 21-year-old Welshman, who joined from the Scarlets in the summer.

"He has got that out of the way now," said Mallinder. "He was good tonight, tidy.

"He is taking his time, settling in and he is playing well for us. We are pleased with the way he is going.

"We played outstanding at times tonight; some of our attacking play and tempo was very good."

Mallinder put the high tempo performance from Northampton down to the performance of scrum-half Lee Dickson, who has seen his place in the side challenged this season by the arrival of Samoan Kahn Fotuali'i from Ospreys.

In front of England coaches Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree, Dickson gave the perfect response.

Mallinder said: "I didn't have any doubts about how Lee would respond.

"As soon as we wanted to sign Kahn I spoke to Lee and he more or less said 'yeah, bring it on'.

"The energy you get from him is absolutely fantastic, and that is magnified in terms of the way the rest of players play - he was the heart and soul of our side tonight.

"Jamie Elliott was very good as well. His kick-chase in the first half, where he bounced back on to his feet, we were unlucky not to score there and he was unlucky with his kick and chase round the man in the second half - he was the pick of the wingers today."

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond had no complaints about the defeat and despite the scoreline was encouraged by some aspects of his team's play.

"We were beaten by a better team," said Diamond. "They got 19 points in front and we couldn't compete with them really.

"We managed to sort our set-piece out and compete with them in that area, but we made a couple of field position errors in the first half and they capitalised on it.

"It is easy to stick the cue back in the rack in games like this, but we kept going and I was pleased with quite a lot of it to be honest."


From Belfast Telegraph