Mallinder confident Saints can get selection right for Montpellier clash

Jim Mallinder (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Jim Mallinder (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Jim Mallinder is confident he and his fellow coaches can get their selection balance right this weekend.

Saints were stung by a 20-9 defeat at Harlequins last weekend, putting in a poor performance that set them back after a win against Exeter the previous week.

And Mallinder now has decisions to make.

He must decide whether to give the players who underperformed last weekend another shot against Montpellier in the Champions Cup opener at Franklin’s Gardens or make changes to freshen things up.

And when asked for his thoughts on team selection for the Saturday evening showdown, he said: “You don’t want to change too much, but you’ve got to make sure you get the team and the balance right.

“You can’t just pick on your old, experienced players just because they’ve been around longer than anyone else. That doesn’t mean you should pick them and they’re the right ones.

“You’ve got to pick the right ones for the game.

“We need to pick the right ones on form, get the right combinations and hopefully get the right players in the right positions.

“I think we’ll do that this weekend.”

The likes of James Wilson and Howard Packman performed well in the recent Wanderers win against Wasps A.

And Mallinder said: “We’re really pleased that James Wilson’s back from injury now.

“He’s been out for a lot of pre-season but he played well for the Wanderers last week so he makes himself available, which is good.

“And certainly people like Rory Hutchinson, who played against Exeter and did really well.

“They’ve definitely got to come into our thinking for selection.”

Harry Mallinder will also be available for this weekend’s game after being unable to take his place on the bench at Harlequins due to a knock.

“He’s been training all week and he’ll be available for selection for the weekend,” Mallinder senior confirmed.

And Dylan Hartley could also make his comeback after missing the previous four matches with a back problem.

“Dylan is out training so that’s a real positive.

“Whether he’s done enough for this weekend, we’ll just have to see,

“He was involved in the live scrums yesterday and he’s done everything today, so we’re really pleased to see him out there.”