Tough decisions and small margins were ultimately what cost Saints yesterday as a late intercept try gave their guests Newcastle the victory and ended Saints’ four game winning streak.
Jim Maillnder was disappointed with his side’s performance, especially in the first half, and while he was impressed with how they came back to be in the game at the end despite only having 14 men on the pitch, he was keen to stress how disappointed the team was with that result.
“Well, it’s a disappointing result,” Mallinder told SaintsTV yesterday.
“Disappointing first half, I didn’t think we played well. We didn’t really make the gainline in attack and we forced too much ball and put ourselves under pressure.
“Clearly it was disappointing to go down to 14 men just before half time but in the second half we rallied well and I think the troops really played well. We scrummed well, the lineout kept functioning, we played in the right areas of the field and built our lead.
“We came back into the game but then actually to go ahead and concede that break away try was very disappointing.
“We’ve really got to look at ourselves in that first half because we didn’t look to have any structure. I think we overplayed a little bit too much and didn’t get on the front foot.
“We were doing the things in the first half that we had talked about not doing but it was pleasing in the second half that we improved.”
With 13 players away on international duty, Saints have managed to hold together and win four of their five games within the international window. Mallinder said that while this last result is raw and will frustrate the side, to have performed that well with so many players missing was pleasing.
“It would have been lovely to have sneaked a win today. I know we’ve got players missing and players out with injuries so it was always going to be a tight game today and actually if we’d have sneaked it we’d have been really, really pleased.
“If that pass by Tom Kessell had been him running himself or putting a little grubber in then we’d have probably been celebrating a real good comeback in that second half. But it’s not to be and that’s life.”
With Derby Day quickly approaching, as Saints travel to Welfor Road next weekend to face local rivals Leicester, Mallinder said that to have such a big game on the horizon will help the side regroup and push on in training to go to Leicester Tigers with a good mindset despite yesterday’s result.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down, we’ve got to pick a good side for next week. We’ve got internationals coming back and we’ll pick a good side and we’ll go up to Leicester and give it our best shot.
“It’s always tough to win up there but we enjoy the trip. It’ll be a big game and we’ll look forward to it.”