Aviva Premiership: Jim Mallinder urges Northampton to enjoy home comforts
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder hailed an "important" win for his troops away at Exeter.
Last Updated: 05/01/13 6:32pm
Tries from Ken Pisi, Soane Tonga'uiha and GJ van Velze helped Saints become the first visiting side to win at Sandy Park in the Aviva Premiership this season.
The result pushes Mallinder's men into the top four in the table, helping them overcome the disappointment of back-to-back defeats to Harlequins and Saracens over the Christmas period.
"This win was important because it has put us back in to the mix and with the next four games being non-league, in terms of Heineken Cup and the LV=Cup, it leaves us in a decent position," he said.
"But you want to be in the top four come the end of the season so I can still see that there is going to be a lot of changes before then. But it is good preparation for us before the our Heineken Cup tie against Castres Olympique.
"We have had some cracking wins away - we have won down here, we have won at Gloucester and at Bath as well as away at Ulster - but what we need to do is get back our home form so next week will be a good test."
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter felt the hosts paid the price for trying to play too much rugby at times, though he couldn't criticise his team for a lack of effort.
"I don't think we were far off winning the game," he said.
"It wouldn't have taken any more physical endeavour from us, it would have just taken a little more mental sharpness and a little better control of certain parts of the game.
"You are always disappointed when you lose a game but the bigger disappointment was that we were in it for large parts but I am not sure that we appreciated the pressure that we probably had on Northampton for large periods of the game.
"Northampton had a three or four-point lead on a number of occasions with plenty of time on the clock. We were the team that was playing and being able to control possession for periods but we almost played until we made the error."