Saints coach Mallinder feels for English rugby

Northampton Saints coach Jim Mallinder admitted it was “sad” for the English game that his side had not been able to fly the flag for the Guinness Premiership in the last four of the Heineken Cup.

Mallinder saw his side beaten 33-19 by Munster in their quarter-final clash at a packed Thomond Park. The result means there will be no English team in the semi-finals for the first time since 2003.

“It is sad for the English game that there won’t be a team in the semi-finals, but that’s where we are,” Mallinder told ERC Rugby.

“We will learn lessons from this and it is obvious the Irish teams put a massive priority on the Heineken Cup.” he reasoned.

“We have been to Thomond Park twice this season and we will learn from the experience.

“We haven’t had many losing dressing rooms this season, but the players are really, really down after going out.”

“We will have to get out of that feeling very quickly because we still have four very important Premiership matches left to play.

“We knew we had a chanced of winning against Munster, but we didn’t perform the way we know we can. But we believe we can move on and get better.

“I was really pleased with the way we fronted up and hit back with that try from Jon Clarke just before half-time.”

“But then Ronan O’Gara controlled things very well in the second half.

“He is the master here at Thomond Park and is a very good rugby player.”

“They took their chances very well and the best team won on the day.”

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