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Mallinder praises Saints' defensive efforts at Welford Rd

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Derby Day ended in disappointment for Saints as a late penalty from Leicester Tigers’ Owen Williams not only sealed the home side’s victory at Welford Road but also meant that Saints game away without any league points.

Jim Mallinder said that while his side produced some opportunities in the close fought game, Saints need to be taking all of those opportunities to perform at their best and get the results they need to move up the Aviva Premiership league table.  

“We had some opportunities,” Mallinder told SaintsTV after last evening’s game.

“We had a few lineout some good attacking opportunities and we didn’t take them.

“But we defended really well for some long periods of the game and they only came away from those spells with three points.

“We had a chance right at the end which unfortunately got turned over close to their line.

“It was a tight game, with two sides that are fairly edgy at the moment, it was a fairly even game and it was disappointing to lose.”

Looking at how close the game was with Saints’ midlands rivals, Mallinder said he admired the players’ fight to try to come away with the win and said that Saints were unlucky to not come away with a losing bonus point but that the whole club’s attentions are now firmly on the Leinster double-header that is just around the corner.

“I think if you look at it when you’ve got two or three minutes to go and you’re really going at it hard, getting up to the line and you finally get turned over and then go and give away a penalty and that’s tough.

“We’re only trying to get the ball back and I understand the lads’ frustration to try to go on and win the game but of course then they go and take that bonus point.

“But that’s life and it’s always tough coming to Welford Road. We are disappointed but we’ve got two big games coming up against Leinster and we need to make sure that we’re up for those.”

Mallinder did praise his side’s defence after Saints were camped on their own line for most of the second half and only conceded two penalties throughout the whole Leicester attack. The Director of Rugby said that he was please with how his side’s defence has been going this season but that the attacking area of the game is something they will work on hard over the coming weeks.

“I think what’s been going well all year is our defence. We’ve conceded a couple of silly tries over the last few weeks but generally our defence has been very good.

“Our set piece has been good, we’ve been winning good ball at lineouts, putting oppositions under pressure at the scrum.

“We’ve got seven or eight players to come back that could potentially go straight back into that pack.

“So that’s been a really good area of strength. We know that our attacking game is an area that we need to improve and that’s something that we need to keep working on.”