Mallinder: Saints will use some World Cup players at Worcester

Tom Wood played a key role for England in the World Cup, but Kieran Brookes (right) did not start a pool game
Tom Wood played a key role for England in the World Cup, but Kieran Brookes (right) did not start a pool game

Jim Mallinder is ready to name some of Saints’ World Cup stars in the squad for Friday’s Aviva Premiership opener at Worcester Warriors.

With the pool stages of the international tournament now over, those men whose teams have not made it to the quarter-finals have been returning to their clubs.

For Saints, that means Samoan trio Kahn Fotuali’i, George Pisi and Ken Pisi and England’s Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes and Kieran Brookes are now back at Franklin’s Gardens.

But Mallinder is assessing them on an individual basis, giving some time off while admitting others could feature at Sixways.

“We’re treating them all individually so some of the lads who have played a lot of rugby won’t be included,” Mallinder said.

“Some have gone away, some have got knocks and have been in for treatment without doing any rugby.

“But some who haven’t played as much during the World Cup will be involved so they’ve been training.

“We might look to get one or two lads who have come from the World Cup involved.”

Wood started three of England’s four games, coming off the bench in the other, against Uruguay last Saturday.

Lawes has been nursing a knee injury and has yet to train with Saints, but Brookes should be fresh having not started any of England’s matches.

Fotuali’i featured in all of Samoa’s clashes, captaining them against Scotland last weekend.

George Pisi also started that game, with Ken Pisi used as a replacement.

“They’ve had a relatively different pre-season, in terms of the lads we’ve got back, our Samoans and our England players, but they are all match fit,” Mallinder said.

“Some have played more than others, some have had different mental stresses than others.

“We’ve got to treat them all individually, talk to them all, see where they all are and we will be playing some at the weekend.

“Some may have rests as we go through the season, some will be going away and having a breather now to come back in fully refreshed.”

Mallinder knows the mental effects are just as important as the physical scars.

And he added: “The ups and the downs of it all - it’s emotional and it’s massive, particularly a home World Cup.

“For some of these players, they’ve been playing some big games over the past few weeks now and it can clearly have an effect on you.

“For some of those lads it’s a great chance to have some downtime.”

Saints now have just two players left in the World Cup, with George North’s Wales set to face Victor Matfield’s South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.