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Mallinder wants another gear

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder knows his side need to raise their game ahead of the Heineken Cup double-header against Irish giants Leinster in the next fortnight.

The Saints left it until the final quarter to see off Worcester 33-10 in the Aviva Premiership clash at Sixways to inflict a ninth successive league defeat this season on the basement side.

Tries from lock Samu Manoa, wing Tom Collins and flanker Tom Wood, plus four penalties and three conversions from fly-half Stephen Myler, were enough to make the victory comfortable at the end.

But it took a long period for Northampton get their act together and see off Worcester, whose points came via a try and conversion from fly-half Igacio Mieres and a penalty by full-back Chris Pennell.

Mallinder said: "In the first-half, our set-pieces were good but we didn't bring enough intensity to our game. We didn't get over the gain-line and just tried to force the game too much.

"We got a grip on the game in the second-half and played some good field position. We pride ourselves on our fitness and playing for the full 80 minutes and maybe Worcester just ran out of puff.

"Leinster is now going to be a massive challenge for us and we need to up our game from the way we have played over the last couple of weeks."

"A low-point, however, has been the loss of England star Ben Foden with injury. It will be something around the 12-week mark that he will be out for. He has done an ACL (knee) but he is positive which is good. We will have to see how that goes."

The defeat leaves Worcester 10 points adrift of London Irish at the bottom of the table but director of rugby Dean Ryan still has belief that they can turn things around.

The Warriors have not won a game so far in the Premiership and have picked up just two losing bonus points in that period.

However, Ryan insisted: "We are working really hard to close the gap. For 60 minutes today, we were outstanding against one of the best sides in the country.

"I think, against Bath, we were significantly more competitive than we have been in other games. We are getting the group (of players) more collective and getting everyone buying into it."

But Ryan does not think there is a significant somebody to turn the club on its head - and he has emphasised it is up to the current squad to do that.

"We are all thinking there is a miracle person out there. There isn't. There are people here to do that job and the market place at this time of the year does not offer many opportunities to add players.

"I am not going to peddle there is a miracle cure around the corner. The answer is within this group. There are people here that are taking their opportunities and we will support them in that."

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