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- European Rugby Champions Cup
- Pool 1
- 10th Oct 2009
- KO 18:00
- Ground: Franklin's Gardens
- Att: 13,550
Geraghty a 'special talent'
Fly-half's performance against Munster his best for Saints so far, coach says
Northampton's director of rugby Jim Mallinder said Shane Geraghty's performance in their 31-27 Heineken Cup win against Munster was that of "a special talent".
The fly-half scored 21 of the Saints' points, Geraghty scoring one try and making two others in a superb display in front of England manager Martin Johnson.
Geraghty's own try was something special - the opposing defence caught unawares late in the first half as he tapped and ran a penalty that Munster expected him to kick to goal.
"We have seen Shane play at under-20 level for England and throughout the age groups and he is a special talent," Mallinder said.
"What he has done today is to back up a number of very good performances for us this season and that is probably his best performance for us tonight.
"He made a lot of good options in attack, and he can see where space is whether it his passing or his running game, he's a real threat to defenders."
But Mallinder declined to be drawn on whether Geraghty should be promoted from the England Saxons squad to the elite squad.
"That's a decision for Martin Johnson to make," he said.
"Martin has got to decide whether he wants to play Shane and if so where. I have no hesitation in playing him in either position, at number 10 or 12."
Mallinder also singled out young lock Courtney Lawes, who held his own against Munster's British & Irish Lions second row pairing of Paul O'Connell and Donncha O'Callaghan.
"He's certainly got the size, he's certainly got the athletic ability and he's certainly got the desire," he added.
"As for whether he is ready for England we will probably know after this next series of European games. But he certainly didn't let himself down against two outstanding and experienced locks for Munster."
Meanwhile, Munster captain O'Connell admitted that his side's defensive lapses had probably cost them a win in the Pool One opener.
"It wasn't a fabulous performance but it was an improvement on Leinster last week. But we let in too many soft scores," O'Connell said.
"There were a few defensive lapses. Against a team of the quality of Northampton you can't give them those opportunities.
"They are good at taking their opportunities. Shane Geraghty is playing well at the moment and they are very good at what they do.
"They have a strong ball-carrying game and when we presented them with opportunities they took them and took them very well."