Fixtures - Top Bar

Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 15 London Irish 9

Aside from the result, director of rugby Jim Mallinder could take few positives from Northampton Saints’ gritty Aviva Premiership Rugby win against London Irish.

On a wet evening at Franklin’s Gardens handling errors plagued the champions, who regularly created chances in the Exiles 22 only to see them go to waste.

Ken Pisi and Sam Dickinson did cross over either side of the break but former Northampton fly-half Shane Geraghty struck three penalties to ensure the visitors were in touch right until the final whistle.

And Mallinder, who will take his side to play-off rivals Bath Rugby next weekend, insists that sort of showing is unacceptable for title-challengers such as the Saints.

“We’ve won but we could have easily lost,” he said. “It was a poor performance and we expect better. The positive is that we played badly and won and a lot of credit goes to our defence.

“We didn’t gel tonight at all. The lads know that we didn’t play well. London Irish came here to do a job and they did a good job. They slowed it down and made it awkward for us. We want to play and tire out their forwards and it’s something we couldn’t do today.

“We can get better, we will get a lot better and if we don’t, we will get beaten down at Bath next week.”

James Wilson, Tom Stephenson and man-of-the-match George Pisi were each guilty of knocking on with the try line at their mercy before the break.

But Ken Pisi finally broke the deadlock when racing onto an accurate Stephen Myler kick before Dickinson capitalised on a numerical advantage and a powerful Saints drive to score after the break.

"To be in the contest against the champions in their back yard was a great effort from our lads, we defended really, really well and created pressure," said London Irish head coach Glenn Delaney.

"We have done well, but we can't be satisfied, we had the winning of the game in our hands, but we didn't execute it. It is as tough as it gets here. We pride ourselves on our forward play and this is the acid test coming here.

"These are good nights for us to learn. That is a building block for the next seven weeks of the season. As long as we get that level of effort, we can work on the skill bits and execution, the effort is something you can't coach."

Northampton Saints: Wilson, K Pisi, G Pisi, Stephenson, Elliott, Myler, Fotuali’i (Dickson 54), A Waller (E Waller 67), Haywood, Ma’afu (Clark 49), Manoa, Day, Clark (Denman 43), Dowson, Dickinson (Craig 62)
Replacements not used: Olver, Tuala
 
London Irish: Fenby, Ojo, Mulchrone, Sheridan (Lewington 60), Fowlie, Geraghty, Steele (O’Leary 59), Court, Paice, Aulika, Skivington, Sinclair (Cox 61), Treviranus, Gilsenan (Halavatau 43), Guest (Narraway 65)
Replacements not used: Stevens, Palframan, Brophy-Clews
 
Scorers
 
Northampton Saints
Tries: K Pisi, Dickinson
Conversions: Myler
Penalties: Myler
 
London Irish
Penalties: Geraghty 3
 
Referee: Andrew Small
Attendance: 13,362
 
Get 20 per cent off a limited number of tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Visit http://www.tickethour.co.uk/premierrugby/ to take advantage of this great offer.

Latest News

Match Reaction: London Irish 55 (84) Yorkshire Carnegie 48 (66)

Nick Kennedy believes London Irish are finally back where they belong after dramatically sealing promotion to Aviva Premiership Rugby by…

Match Report: London Irish 55 (84) Yorkshire Carnegie 48 (66)

London Irish secured an instant return to Aviva Premiership Rugby as they beat Yorkshire Carnegie 55-48 in an enthralling encounter…

Aviva Premiership Rugby Final TV coverage on BT Sport and ITV Sport

Nearly nine months of unforgettable Aviva Premiership Rugby action comes to a head at Twickenham this weekend. Between September 2-4…

JP Doyle to referee Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

JP Doyle will be the man in the middle at this weekend’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham. Wasps and…

Nathan Hughes, Jimmy Gopperth and Thomas Waldrom propel Wasps and Exeter Chiefs to Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

Wasps rounded off an unbeaten campaign at the Ricoh Arena and booked their place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final…

Win a Citizen Watch and a ball signed by this year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby champions

Celebrating being the Official Timekeeper of Premiership Rugby, Citizen are offering you the chance to win a Citizen Watch up…

Confidence could be the key for Exeter Chiefs, says Henry Slade

Exeter Chiefs fly-half Henry Slade believes the confidence coursing through his side could be key to deciding Saturday’s Aviva Premiership…

Dino Lamb replaces Will Evans in England U20 World Championship squad

Leicester Tigers flanker Will Evans has been ruled out of the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia due to…

Final Preview: Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

This is Wasps fifth appearance in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, winning all four previous attempts, in 2003, 2004, 2005…

Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

‘Emotional’ Tom Catterick will always be a Newcastle Falcons fan

Tom Catterick insists he will always be a Newcastle Falcons fan despite this week retiring from professional rugby at the…

Tom Catterick

‘Let’s finish the job’ – Gareth Steenson

Gareth Steenson insists Exeter Chiefs are a much different outfit to that of 12 months ago as they gear up…

Gareth Steenson

England squad gather ahead of Barbarians test

Twenty nine players have assembled in Pennyhill Park today ahead of England’s match against the Barbarians next Sunday (28th May)…

Match Reaction: Wasps 21 Leicester Tigers 20

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young believes his side are still growing in what is turning into a special Aviva…

Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 18 Saracens 16

Saracens’ dominance in Aviva Premiership Rugby was finally ended by Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, and while they had to do…

Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 21 Connacht 15

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder heaped praise on the defensive resolution of his side as they reached the…