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Harry Mallinder kicks Northampton back into Champions Cup

• Northampton 23-22 Stade Français
• Harry Mallinder kicks match-winning conversion

Northampton have done next to nothing the easy way all season so perhaps their circuitous route into next season’s Champions Cup should not come as a surprise. But they can take enormous credit for the resilience shown to cap an exhilarating victory over Stade Français thanks to Ahsee Tuala’s dramatic late try and Harry Mallinder’s nerveless conversion.

When Tuala went over, Northampton were down to 13 – the captain Tom Wood had been sent off for a stamp to the head of Djibril Camara that may well rule him out of England’s tour to Argentina – while Rory Hutchinson was in the sin-bin. Northampton, 16 points down at one pointin the first half, did not know when they were beaten. “I don’t think anybody can see Tom actually putting his foot on the opponent. It’s an unfortunate one,” said Northampton’s director of rugby, Jim Mallinder. “There’s certainly nothing deliberate in there but we’ll see what happens with the disciplinary.”

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