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Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 35 London Irish 7

Northampton Saints are starting find some form and, after they eased past London Irish, man-of-the-match Lee Dickson insists the introduction of Harry Mallinder has been a catalyst.

Following two defeats on the bounce, Northampton have now won back-to-back games, most recently this five-try triumph over the Exiles.

James Craig, Alex Waller, Dickson and Jamie Elliott all crossed over at Franklin’s Gardens, while they also got a penalty try and David Paice grabbed a consolation score for the visitors.

However, Dickson believes 19-year-old Mallinder – son of director of rugby Jim – deserves plenty of the plaudits following his second ever Aviva Premiership Rugby appearance at inside centre.

"Teams know what we are about and that we like to box-kick and kick from (Stephen) Myler," said scrum-half Dickson.

"But having Harry next to Myler has helped him. Myler can control the game and doesn't need to worry about kicking the ball all the time.

"Our mentality now is to have a crack. We have talked about getting the ball into our wingers' hands and letting them kick, because when you have eight forwards around the ball when you do a box-kick, if it doesn't go right you have got eight people in the middle of nowhere.

"Whereas if you get the ball out wide and they kick we have got everyone on their feet running down the pitch. We have the ambition and the attitude to attack well but also to defend well.

"Over the last two weeks we have shown some sparks, we have put a performance in today and we have played some exciting rugby.

“We scored some phenomenal tries today, it is still a work in progress, but we are building some blocks leading to some important games coming up."

The Exiles, meanwhile, remain bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and head coach Tom Coventry revealed his frustration at an early Halani Aulika sin-bin, which prompted Northampton’s first two tries in quick succession.

"I thought we were pretty poor today," said Coventry. "A little bit of ill-discipline from Halani cost us and they took those two tries pretty well.

"It sums up where we are at the moment; we are not taking our opportunities to score when we are in vital parts of the field and maintaining pressure on the opposition is not something we have been able to do regularly.

"There is a lack of confidence in our game at the moment, and in front of a big crowd against a Saints side with a chip on their shoulders after losing at our place, we needed to be perfect today."
 
Northampton Saints: Foden; Elliott, Burrell (Pisi G 66), Mallinder, Wilson; Myler (Hanrahan 54), Dickson (Kessell 60); Waller A (Waller E 54), Haywood (Marshall 54), Brookes (Denman 58); Craig, Day (Matfield 59); Gibson, Wood, Dickinson (Harrison 49)
 
London Irish: Fenby; Ojo, Mulchrone, Williams (Waldouck 60), Hearn (Brophy-Clews 51); Geraghty, Steele (Allinson 40); Court (Smallbone 46), Paice (Ellis 47 (Paice 74)), Aulika (Halavatau 60); Symons, Lloyd (Nagle 57); Sinclair, Narraway, McCusker (Treviranus 71)
 
Northampton Saints
Tries: Craig, Penalty, Waller A, Elliott, Dickson
Conversions: Myler 5
 
London Irish
Tries: Paice
Conversions: Geraghty
 
Attendance: 15,227
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
 

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