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SAINTS 53 GLOUCESTER 6 Mallinder admits pre-match nerves

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“There were nerves, without a doubt,” Mallinder told SaintsTV. “You don’t quite know how you’re going to turn up.

“Pre-season’s always good. Everybody feels good, there’s plenty of fitness and work on the training field. But you don’t know how you’re going to rock up on the field, and you don’t quite know what the opposition are going to be like, particularly with Gloucester, with so many unknowns.”

After an even opening quarter that saw Stephen Myler and James Hook exchange penalties, Mallinder’s nerves would have been able to settle in a 20-minute period in which the Saints scored three tries.

George North went over for two of his three tries, with George Pisi latching onto a pinpoint Myler chip for the third.

Greig Laidlaw replied with a penalty for Gloucester, but Saints built on their 24-6 half-time lead to score 29 unanswered points after the break, with North completing his hat trick, Luther Burrell scoring twice and Jon Fisher and Kahn Fotuali’i also notching their first tries of the season.

And with the defence nullifying whatever the Cherry and Whites threw at it, Mallinder was understandably pleased with the all-round performance.

“It was a really effective performance,” he said. “Everything we did was clinical, and that includes things like getting out of our half, getting a good kick-chase, the set piece work, defensive work, and then the attacking play, the off-loads and some fantastic tries.

“It was a proper team performance.”

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