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Aviva Premiership: Jim Mallinder delighted after Northampton's win at Exeter

Last updated: 8th February 2014   Subscribe to RSS Feed

rob baxter exeter chiefs

Rob Baxter: Left frustrated by late loss

Jim Mallinder Wasps Northampton

Jim Mallinder: Pleased with Northampton's performance at Exeter

We could have easily lost this game but we stuck at it and I am really pleased with the belief of the side.

Jim Mallinder
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Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder savoured the 17-16 victory over Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park that took his side to the top of the Aviva Premiership.

Saracens losing to London Irish earlier in the day opened the door for Northampton, who had a slender 10-9 lead at the break through a try from lock James Wilson and Samu Manoa, with the Chiefs replying as Gareth Steenson, with the wind at his back, landed three penalties.

Exeter dominated the early stages of the second half and scrum-half Dave Lewis crossed for Chiefs' only try, converted by Steenson, before a late try from George Pisi, converted by fly-half Stephen Myler, saw the Saints seal the victory.

"It was a very hard-fought win in difficult conditions," said Mallinder. "We were pretty pleased with ourselves at half-time having played into a gale and scoring two good tries.

"Any win away from home is a good win. Exeter are a good side and they will beat a lot of good sides here as well.

"I think that we probably let Exeter back into the game in the second half and a lot of credit to them because they played some good rugby in those conditions which put us under pressure.

"To score the winning try with a couple of minutes to go was outstanding. We knew that we would have to play for 80 minutes to match Exeter and we trusted our defence.

"We could have easily lost this game but we stuck at it and I am really pleased with the belief of the side. We are in a good place at the moment, internationals doing well for England and Wales and then the lads back at home."

Competitions

Northampton are also through to the semi-finals of the LV= Cup where they will host Saracens next month, plus the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup where they have a trip to Sale Sharks in April.

Mallinder added: "This is where we want to be and I think any team wouldn't want to be out of competitions as it is only February. There is still a lot of rugby to go and we haven't got the biggest of squads so we have to look after and manage the players.

"We have always said that we can't worry too much about other people but of course you do look at results and see what is going on with Saracens losing. But the pressure comes back on with Bath winning and they are creeping back towards you."

Exeter had to settle for a losing bonus point to leave them eighth in the table, with matches to come at home to Bath, away to Saracens and then London Irish before an LV= Cup semi-final at Bath.

Head coach Rob Baxter said: "I'm a bit frustrated because ultimately I don't think that we played very well particularly in the first half.

"I don't think that we were really as physically aggressive as you need to be when you play a side like Northampton.

"We look back [on the game] and most of it will be okay for 90 per cent but there are too many of those odd things that are hurting us when we need to be well focused and need to be really decisive about what we do.

"I told the guys that we have let one slip through our fingers because if we had played in the first half anything like we did in the second we would not have been behind and we wouldn't have conceded the points that we did."

Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Saturday 20th September
Aviva Premiership
14:00Sale vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs Wasps
15:00London Irish vs Saracens
15:15Bath vs Leicester
Sunday 21st September
14:00Newcastle vs Northampton
Friday 26th September
19:45London Welsh vs Gloucester
Saturday 27th September
15:00Leicester vs London Irish
15:00Saracens vs Sale
15:15Northampton vs Bath
Sunday 28th September
14:00Wasps vs Newcastle
14:00Exeter vs Harlequins
Friday 3rd October
19:45Bath vs Saracens
Saturday 4th October
15:00Harlequins vs London Welsh
15:00London Irish vs Northampton
15:15Gloucester vs Leicester
Sunday 5th October
14:00Sale vs Wasps
15:00Newcastle vs Exeter
Friday 10th October
19:45Leicester vs Harlequins
Saturday 11th October
14:30London Welsh vs Newcastle
15:00Saracens vs Gloucester
15:00Exeter vs London Irish
15:15Northampton vs Sale
Sunday 12th October
14:00Wasps vs Bath
Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
15:00Gloucester vs Harlequins

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