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Northampton boss Jim Mallinder wants to keep up the momentum

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder is aiming to keep the momentum building after a hard fought 28-21 Champions Cup win over Castres at Franklin's Gardens.

Teimana Harrison scored two tries and there was one apiece for Tom Wood and Stephen Myler, who also slotted all four conversions, as Northampton claimed their fourth straight win in all competitions.

Castres trailed 21-7 at one stage but they rallied strongly to draw level before Wood's late effort saw Saints home with a bonus point.

Alexandre Bias and Julien Dumora scored tries for Castres with skipper Rory Kockott adding three penalties and a conversion.

Mallinder said: "Rugby is all about momentum and it's fantastic that we've won our last four games. We want to keep that momentum going.

"It was a good performance as we attacked with good intent to dominate the first half but we weren't clinical enough in taking chances.

"Castres were too strong for us down there (in France) and they brought a quality side here to put our scrum under a lot of pressure."

Despite the bonus point win, Northampton remained at the bottom of Pool 4 with no chance of further progress in the competition and only have pride to play for in the final fixture at Montpellier next Friday.

"I always enjoy trips to France and it will be a good experience for us to play in a hostile environment," Mallinder added.

Two-try hero Harrison was forced to play at number eight as Louis Picamoles was absent through injury, but he still impressed with an all-action display.

Harrison said: "In our last block of European fixtures we let the club down and we are slowly getting back to the Saints of old.

"Some of our performances haven't been the best but I believe we've turned the corner and I'm happy the way things are going.

"We've been learning to run off Louis but playing at number eight gives me an extra freedom and I have been working on my ball carrying.

"We hope to finish on a bang in Montpellier."

Harrison was part of an impressive Saints pack, which also featured excellent performances from fellow England squad members Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes.

Mallinder added: "Our back row is an area of strength with Tom Wood playing some of his best rugby of his career in recent weeks. He, Courtney and Teimana were all outstanding today."

Northampton are currently sixth in the Aviva Premiership standings.


From Belfast Telegraph