Harlequins dominated possession and territory throughout The Big Game 7. But while they got through the Saints’ first-up defence on a few occasions, and scored first through George Lowe just five minutes into the contest, they could not find the knockout blow that would have taken the champions out, not even when the Australian was cooling his heels after a high tackle on the hosts’ try scorer.
Instead it was the Saints who countered during those 10 minutes, with Stephen Myler landing a penalty a couple of minutes before half-time and then George North crossing the whitewash as Ma’afu was warming up ready for his return to action.
With Harlequins’ fly half Tim Swiel also missing a shot at goal during this period Saints found themselves with a 20-8 lead that gave them the distance they needed to secure a sixth successive win in all competitions.
“We’ve got a bit of experience playing with 14 men now,” Mallinder commented. “Discipline is a big issue in the game now and there are certain things that you can’t do, and Salesi needs to make sure that he tackles well in the future.
“How we played against Leicester and how we played before half-time shows that you don’t have to just defend and concede points. You can get out there and be positive, and that’s the message that we took.
“We said that at half-time last week and we said it at half-time today. We’d got a penalty ourselves, and then got a try two minutes into the second half.”
However while Saints will go into 2015 sitting top of the Aviva Premiership table Mallinder says that there will be plenty to work on this week ahead of Friday’s home game against a Newcastle Falcons outfit that ran Saracens very close in Round 11.
“We’re not over-impressed with our performance today,” he added. “It certainly wasn’t one of our best. What’s important is that you get the win, it’s as simple as that. We’ve come here and got a win, and we’ll take that.”
The Saints kick off 2015 on home turf with an important game against Newcastle. With just one point separating the Saints from Bath at the top of the Aviva Premiership table every game matters more than ever, and you can play your part by snapping up the final few tickets at www.tinyurl.com/SAI-NEW-1415 using [email protected] to beat the match day queues and save yourself the admin fees!