DCSIMG

Saints boss Mallinder demands home improvement

HOME WOE - Harlequins celebrate a try in their Premiership win at Saints in December (Picture: Linda Dawson)

HOME WOE - Harlequins celebrate a try in their Premiership win at Saints in December (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Jim Mallinder has urged Saints to sort out their home form as they aim to keep their Heineken Cup hopes alive tonight (Friday).

Mallinder’s men have suffered four defeats in their past five games at Franklin’s Gardens and it won’t get much easier against a strong Castres side.

But Saints know to be successful they must iron out the creases of their recent display on their home turf.

And Mallinder wants his team to ensure they make the Gardens a fortress once again, giving the loyal home fans something to shout about in the process.

He said: “We’ve always prided ourselves on playing well here. We’ve got fantastic support and this season we haven’t been as consistent and played as well as we want to.

“It’s tough. We’ve played some good sides here and Castres are another good side. They’re always there or thereabouts in the top of the French division.

“We’ve played them over the past few years so we know it’s going to be a difficult game but hopefully the crowd can get behind us and we need to back up last week’s good win at Exeter.”

Castres sit two points above Saints in Pool 4 and beat Mallinder’s side 21-16 when the teams met in Toulouse back in October.

The French Top 14 outfit have named a strong side for the trip to Northampton and have been steadily improving over the past few seasons.

“They’ve evolved a little bit,” said Mallinder. “They’ve got a big squad and they rotate their squad a lot.

“They very rarely pick the same side they picked the week before, and we’ve seen that rotation over the last couple of years, but they’ve got that quality.

“They’ve got a good front row, a big, heavy pack, who do the basics very well, and they’ve got some key players at half-back as well.”

 

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