Suffering a heavy defeat to Leinster Rugby in the third round of the European Champions Cup last night, Saints now sit bottom of Pool 4 after ill-discipline gave Leinster the opportunities they needed and saw Saints defending for most of the game.
Jim Mallinder said that his side’s discipline has been what has cost them over the past weeks and while Saints had periods of good rugby yesterday it was never going to be enough to beat Leinster with only 14 men on the pitch.
“They’re a quality side and they showed that tonight,” Mallinder told BT Sport after the final whistle.
“We didn’t come out of the blocks as we wanted to and that put us under a lot of pressure. I thought we actually came back into the game pretty well, our defence was good and held them back, at the beginning of the second half we scored a good try to get back into the game but then we conceded and when you’re down to 14 men you really are struggling.”
With Dylan Hartley red carded on 58 minutes, Saints spent most of the second half a man down, an advantage that their guests exploited. Mallinder noted that discipline is what has affected Saints’ games over the past few matches and if something they need to address.
“I don’t think I need to talk about my reaction to it; I think you can see from what it’s done to the team.
“We’ve spoken about it over the last few weeks, we’ve had our disciplinary issues and they continue to haunt us.
“When your international players come back you want them to play and perform for you and, while Mikey Haywood’s been doing a fantastic job in Dylan’s absence, you want these international players to play well for the club and Dylan’s now going to be unavailable which is a massive blow.
“We’re certainly not going out on the training field and practising high tackles. They do occur but its happening too much for us, it’s ridiculous what’s gone on recently.”
Mallinder said Saints must rally together if they’re going to improve and put things right over the coming weeks.
“We’ve lost at home to Leinster before and gone away to win but we’ve just got to pull together, it’s a simple as that.
“You can feel sorry for yourself and look at your injury problems and your disciplinary problems or you can say ‘come on, let’s get together and put it right’.”