Samu Manoa celebrates his try © Getty Images
Rugby News SAINTS 27 OSPREYS 16 Mallinder satisfied as Ospreys overcome
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder was a satisfied man after the Saints got their first Heineken Cup win of the season against the Ospreys.
Saints put 27 points past the Welsh outfit, who started with four British and Irish Lions in their pack. And while the visitors brought themselves back to within a score early in the second half the hosts rallied, Ben Foden’s score giving them breathing space which they kept until the final whistle.
“The Ospreys are a good side,” Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton. “They came at us hard in the second half and we had to defend. Overall our defence was good, we scored three very good team tries, and while we were a little bit disappointed not to score a fourth at the end we’ll take the win.
“We’re happy with the performance. There are clearly things that we still need to work on, but Ospreys are a good side, they’ve got lots of British Lions and international players and we dealt with them pretty well.
“We’re still in the competition and we’ll look forward to playing Leinster home and away.”
With two tries in the first half – Samu Manoa and Christian Day the scorers – Saints went into the break with an 11-point lead. But Dan Biggar added to his two first half penalties with a converted try of his own four minutes after the break to reduce the deficit to just four points.
Foden’s effort just before the hour restored the double-digit lead, and with Stephen Myler matching Biggar off the tee with the conversion and a subsequent penalty Saints were able to keep the visitors at arm’s length.
Having conceded the score so soon after the break Saints could have buckled against a resurgent Ospreys. That they didn’t was down to the attitude and aptitude of all of the match day squad, the Saints boss said.
“It was pleasing how we responded, and some of that was down to some of the players who came on the field,” he commented. “We started with Alex Waller, and then his brother Ethan came on and did well. Gareth Denman did a good job on the other side and when you’ve got people like Calum Clark and GJ Van Velze available it’s a bonus for us.
“Alex had a fantastic game. He’s been on the fringes of the team and learning his trade, and it’s good to see a young Kettering lad come through, and for his brother as well to play at the top stage against Adam Jone, one of the best international props.”
Next week sees a return to the Aviva Premiership and a top-two battle against Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens.
“We’re both going to be missing a few players, we know that, and we’ve had some tough games against Saracens,” Mallinder added. “They’re a good team, but so are we, and although we’ve lost a few games to them at home we’ll be doing everything we possibly can to win.”
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