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Mixed emotions for Mallinder

Northampton coach Jim Mallinder was pleased to see his side take the points from their Aviva Premiership clash with Bath, but admitted he was frustrated that the win did not come by a bigger margin.

Thanks to a star performance from George Pisi, the Saints were in complete control at Franklin's Gardens as they opened up a 22-3 lead at the interval. They carelessly lost control and received two needless yellow cards from referee David Rose, allowing the visitors back into the match, but held on for a 22-13 victory.

"I'm pleased with the win but frustrated not to pick up a bonus point," Mallinder said.

"We were very good in the first half - scoring three tries - and at half-time I told them to do exactly the same, but in the second half we forced it too much.

"We need to improve in closing out games and need to be more clinical in taking our opportunities."

Bath must have feared another heavy defeat at the interval but, aided by Northampton losing two players to the sin-bin, they gave a tenacious second-half performance which saw them keep the Saints scoreless.

Nevertheless, Bath could not avoid slipping to a fourth consecutive league defeat and head coach Sir Ian McGeechan said: "I'm very pleased with our second-half performance.

"We had a poor 20 minutes in the first half when we turned over ball and gave the momentum to Northampton. Winning the second half 10-0 was a good comeback but it was not quite enough, but I couldn't fault our attitude."

Bath, now third-bottom of the table, face a crucial home game against London Irish on New Year's Day, and McGeechan added: "As a group of players they are coming together and we'll see the benefits eventually.

"We have three or four players back from injury in the next few weeks and that will give us greater flexibility and more options."


From Belfast Telegraph