With Saints currently on a four game winning streak across the Anglo-Welsh Cup and Aviva Premiership competitions, Jim Mallinder is hoping that the team can put all they have learned over the last few weeks into a solid performance against Newcastle on Friday night to make it five from five.
“We had a relatively inconsistent opening few weeks,” Mallinder told SaintsTV.
“But we’ve been very pleased with the results that we have had over the past month. Beating Gloucester twice, Newcastle and Worcester was good for us.”
Mallinder said that he was happy with the way the team had performed while the international players are away with their respective countries, especially noting the way Saints’ younger stars have risen to the challenge of first team rugby over the past few weeks.
“We’ve been more disrupted by international call-ups than in the past couple of years; we’ve got 13 players away in total.
“It can be easy to overlook some players just because they might not have played regularly for the first team, but we rely on all our squad to contribute in training and in meetings, and the experience of our internationals is invaluable.
“So to have our young players step up and contribute towards us winning two from two in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and two successive matches in the Aviva Premiership has been very pleasing.
“And with our international players away we’ve been able to play more English players, with 22 out of the 23-man match day squad at Worcester being England-qualified.”
Looking back on the close result at Worcester last Friday, Mallinder commented on Saints’ need to keep their attack and defence strong for the full 80 minutes if they are to really compete within the competition this season.
“Some of the results, especially in the past fortnight, have not reflected the dominance of our performances. Last Friday night is a good example.
“While Stephen Myler kept the scoreboard ticking over with penalties, and of course it’s important to take the points when they come, we let Worcester back into the contest with a last-minute try and then a lack of discipline which gave them a chance to steal the win.
“But even though it was only a one-point victory we were definitely worth our win, as we were against Gloucester the previous Saturday.”
Mallinder said the side is relishing the challenge of Newcastle at home on Friday but that they are approaching the fixture aware of the threat the Falcons pose when they are in good form.
“The games over the past few weeks have shown the importance of keeping our focus throughout a game, and we will have to do that against Newcastle on Friday night.
“The Falcons have a squad with some quality players who can make a big impact on the game, and their win at Gloucester a few weeks ago showed that they deserve to be treated with respect.”