Saints boss Mallinder impressed by his international stars

HAPPY MAN - Saints boss Jim Mallinder (piicture by Linda Dawson)
HAPPY MAN - Saints boss Jim Mallinder (piicture by Linda Dawson)

Saints boss Jim Mallinder feels the future is bright at Franklin’s Gardens after seeing several of his players star on the international stage this summer.

Several of the current Northampton squad impressed for England in their 2-0 Test series win in Argentina, with flanker Tom Wood skippering the side.

And there have also been notable performances from future Saints Alex Corbisiero and, in particular, George North on the British & Irish Lions tour.

Mallinder says he is looking forward to working with Corbisiero and North and also stressed how happy he has been to see the players he coached last season impressing.

“I have been delighted with the form of our players, and been proud of their performances,” he said. “Tom Wood led England superbly in South America, which is always a challenging place to tour and a difficult place to win.

“Ben Foden, Courtney Lawes and Lee Dickson all showed their experience and quality, while Stephen Myler and Luther Burrell both demonstrated that they are comfortable playing at that level.

“Samu Manoa took his club form into the United States’ match against Ireland, and I’m very excited by the prospect of working with George North and Alex Corbisiero, who have stood out while playing for the Lions in Australia.”

Mallinder’s delight was compounded by the displays of England Under 20s duo Alex Day and Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi on Tuesday night.

The pair played from the start in the Red Rose young guns’ historic 33-21 win over New Zealand in the semi-finals of the IRB Junior World Championships.

And Mallinder said: “I’m very happy in how our young players have performed for England Under-20 in the Junior World Championships.

“Alex Day has been calm and assured at scrum-half, and leading the team against the USA will have improved his leadership skills.

“Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi has continued to develop in every game that he’s played, and Will Hooley and Tom Stephenson took their opportunity to shine.

“Of course there will be plenty of work to do during pre-season to make sure that we are ready for the Aviva Premiership campaign, but the last few weeks have shown that we have plenty of quality players at Franklin’s Gardens.”