Mallinder guards against complacency

January 02, 2015 11:23:59 UK

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has said Northampton Saints must not take their position in the table for granted having finished 2014 at the top of the Premiership.

The Midlands outfit defeated Harlequins 30-25 at Twickenham last weekend to take their record to nine victories in 11 league matches.

They are the form side in England’s top-flight at the moment and are once again favourites to get a home semi-final in the play-offs in May.

Next up for the Saints will be Newcastle Falcons at Franklin’s Gardens. Although the Tyneside-based club have only won three domestic games all season, Mallinder believes that the Falcons have made huge strides in 2014 and is wary of the quality of the teams they will face in the upcoming matches.

“Newcastle are doing really well aren’t they? They’re playing well,” he said. “We then we go up to Sale which we know how difficult that is and then you start looking at Europe again.

“They’re massive games for us. We’re in a good place, we’ve just got to keep going, keep playing well, stick together, winning ugly whenever we can and winning well at the other times.”

He added: “We can’t be overconfident. You just look around, the results are close but a lot of the top sides are still winning. With Saracens just winning, Leicester just winning and picking up bonus-points and Bath winning again, it’s all very, very tight.

“There are lots of games, we’re not going to win every one of them, it’s going to go all the way through and it’s going to be an exciting second half of the Premiership.”

Phil Dowson will captain the side from the back row against his former team as he replaces Tom Wood, while hooker Matti Williams and scrum-half Joel Hodgson come into the match-day squad on the bench.

Northampton: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson; Waller, Haywood, Ma’afu; Dickinson, Day; Clark, Dowson (capt), Manoa.

Replacements: Williams, Corbisiero, Denman, Nutley, Wood, Hodgson, Wilson, Stephenson.

Newcastle: Tait; Harris, Powell, Tuilagi, Barnes; Catterick, Blair; Fry, Lawson, Brookes; Green, Furno; Mayhew, Welch (capt), Wilson.

Replacements: McGuigan, Vickers, Rogers, MacLeod, Saull, Tipuna, Clegg, Penny.

Northampton SaintsĀ are currently priced 1.90 with a -24.5 match handicap and quoted 1.025 in the 80 minutes market.

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