Jim Mallinder has revealed it was Saints’ decision to rest Alex Corbisiero for Saturday’s game at Gloucester.
Corbisiero, who had started both of Northampton’s first two Aviva Premiership games, was given the afternoon off with Alex Waller starting at Kingsholm.
When the team was announced on Friday afternoon, it was made clear Corbisiero was left out of the squad as part of the EPS agreement.
Mallinder gave an explanation on that after the 26-24 defeat at Gloucester and admitted it was the club’s choice not to play the British & Irish Lions and England loosehead prop.
He said: “There’s an EPS protocol which says that if you play in the third game of a Lions Test match and you’re an English player you need to be rested in one of those games in this period up to the autumn internationals.
“We decided to rest Alex Corbisiero. It wasn’t (England boss) Stuart Lancaster’s (decision).”
With a home game against Sale Sharks next up, Mallinder was asked why he had chosen to rest Corbisiero for what appeared to be a more challenging fixture at Gloucester.
He replied: “They’re all hard fixtures, aren’t they? He didn’t play any rugby last season, he played the third (Lions) Test, we got him playing two pre-season matches for us to get him to our way of playing rugby, he’d played the past two (Premiership) games and we want him to play the whole season.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to make some tough decisions. You can’t play your best 15 every single game.”