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Mallinder: Saints were sinners

Northampton coach Jim Mallinder admitted his side's indiscipline cost them against Castres as they were knocked out of the Heineken Cup in France.

Mallinder pulled no punches in his verdict on his side's 41-22 defeat at the Stade Pierre Antoine.

The Saints, who won the Heineken Cup in 2000 and were beaten finalists last season, suffered their fourth defeat in this season's competition against a Castres side which had not won a game for two months, and Mallinder said: "We wanted to play rugby and move a big Castres side around and I though we did that very well."

He added: "But this was always going to be a big challenge and it is always going to be hard when you have to defend for 20 minutes with 14 men.

"It was too much for us but I was happy with our attacking play, but we obviously have work to do on our set-piece and particularly our restarts which were a problem for us all game."

Fly-half Steve Myler and flanker Tom Wood were both sin-binned and Mallinder added: "When you have two yellow cards you have to ask why?

"I don't want to question the referees but we have had the same problem against Munster and we have to look at why. The yellow card for Steve Myler and a high tackle was a close one but we just aren't getting those decisions at the moment."

Northampton host Castres in the return game next weekend but have nothing to play for with their Heineken Cup dream now over.

"We are out of the competition and that is hard and we are playing for pride now," Mallinder added.

"Next week is all about that and we will work hard and go out and play hard like we always do in all competitions. That won't change. We had some young players out there and they would have learned a lot from the experience they have had out here."


From Belfast Telegraph