Saints boss Mallinder in reflective mood after Gloucester win

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

Jim Mallinder was satisfied with Saints’ win at Gloucester - but stressed his disappointment at missing out on a play-off place.

George Pisi’s effort and a double from George North helped Mallinder’s men battle back from 20-8 down to secure a 28-20 success at Kingsholm.

The victory cemented fifth spot, which means Northampton will definitely be playing Champions Cup rugby next season.

But though Mallinder was happy with the victory, he rued the fact Saints finished five points adrift of fourth-placed Leicester and failed to finish in the top four for the first time since 2009.

“It’s satisfying but we’re not getting carried away because we want to be finishing top four,” the Saints boss said.

“It’s disappointing because it’s the first time in a few years that we’ve not made it (the play-offs).

“We had to regroup over the past couple of weeks, we reset our targets and that was to beat Bath and beat Gloucester to qualify in fifth position.

“We’re pleased we’ve managed that.”

When asked why he felt Saints missed out on the top four, Mallinder said: “I don’t really want to blame one thing.

“The World Cup didn’t help, but the margins of sport are fine and if you want to be in the top four, you’ve got to go to Worcester, go to London Irish and Newcastle, the teams who are at the bottom, and you can’t be losing by a point or two points, which is what we did.”