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Mallinder: Leinster games cannot define our season

Lee Dickson goes for a loose ball © Getty Images

Rugby News Mallinder: Leinster games cannot define our season

Jim Mallinder was a satisfied figure in the inner sanctum of the Aviva Stadium after masterminding the Saints’ 18-9 win over Leinster. But while the director of rugby was obviously enjoying the moment he also made a point of saying that the back-to-back games against the Dubliners cannot define the Saints’ campaign.

George North got the scoring underway in the fifth minute with a try that gave the Saints a lead they would not relinquish, despite having to withstand wave after wave of Leinster attacks, not least in the final two minutes.

Instead it was Jamie Elliott who got the score which sealed the result, adding to five points from Stephen Myler and a late Kahn Fotuali’i drop goal.

The win put the Saints back into the mix in Pool 1 with two rounds to play, with comparisons also being drawn with the same stage last year, when a home reverse to Ulster was followed by a superb away win.

That victory was followed by a home loss to Harlequins the following week, and Mallinder says that history mustn’t repeat itself when the Aviva Premiership campaign resumes with a visit to London Wasps next Saturday.

“We definitely can’t let these two weeks define our season,” he told SaintsTV. “We’ve got three tough games coming up, starting with Wasps away next week.

“You’ve got to enjoy the moment, but on Monday we’ve got to get back and planning again. Hopefully the Wanderers will give us a good performance on Monday night; we’ll all be watching and it’s something to look forward to.

“Then we’ve got a big week coming up and we’ve got to beat Wasps away.”

Samu Manoa took home the Heineken man of the match Waterford crystal, but any one of several Saints could have taken the plaudits, with Mallinder hailing the collective mentality as the key to the success.

“It was the squad effort which stood out for me,” he said. “We got a tremendous rebound after last week, when we were embarrassed and beaten by a better side. We learned some lessons in the week, came here very quietly determined and went out there to put Leinster under a lot of pressure.

“It was a really good result and there was a lot of pride in the shirt.”

Saints are next in action at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, January 28th. But with that game against Bath sold out the next fixture supporters can book for is the visit of Harlequins on Friday, January 3rd.

Before that is Monday night’s Aviva ‘A’ League final between the Wanderers and Bath, and supporters can order tickets for both of those games by CLICKING HERE and following the straightforward instructions.

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