Mallinder wants winning momentum for Saints

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Northampton Saints face a tricky game tomorrow lunchtime when they welcome Harlequins to Franklin’s Gardens in Round 8 of the 2009/10 Guinness Premiership.


The Quins come to town having won their last two away games, and Mallinder says that they will pose problems across the field.


“Harlequins have come right back into form over the past few weeks,” he said today.


“They are playing in the same way that got them to the semi-finals of last year’s Guinness Premiership. They haven’t lost for a month and have won their last two away games, at Worcester and Newcastle.


“They like to keep the ball in hand and have strike runners who can beat defenders. However Harlequins don’t like their opponents playing quick rugby, and they are very good at slowing the ball down at the breakdown, as we found out both here and at the Stoop last season.


“We have been delighted to get two wins in the LV= Cup. Winning is important and we want to keep our momentum that we built up in the earlier rounds of the Guinness Premiership.”


There is just one change to the starting lineup as Neil Best, who played in Ireland ‘A’s win over Tonga last weekend, returns to the number 7 shirt.


The remainder of the changes are on the bench. Courtney Lawes returns from England duty to take a place among the replacements alongside Scott Gray, Regardt Dreyer and Euan Murray.


Murray is in line for his first action of the season after recovering from an ankle injury sustained on the British and Irish Lions’ South African tour this summer, and Mallinder paid tribute to the Scot’s work ethic during his months of rehabilitation.


“Euan has worked extremely hard to recover from a very serious injury,” he said.

 

“It is a credit to him and all the medical and conditioning staff that he is ready to play ahead of schedule.”

Northampton Saints team


15 Ben Foden , 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha, 2 Brett Sharman
3 Santiago Bonorino, 4 Christian Day, 5 Juandre Kruger, 6 Phil Dowson (capt), 7 Neil Best, 8 Roger Wilson


Replacements, 16 Joe Gray, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Scott Gray, 21 Alan Dickens, 22 Barry Everitt, 23 Joe Ansbro

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