Coach Mallinder pleased with Saints’ improvement

LOOKING FOR AN OPENING - Victor Matfield tries to make a break (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
LOOKING FOR AN OPENING - Victor Matfield tries to make a break (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Jim Mallinder says Saints’ display against Racing 92 was a ‘big improvement’.

But the director of rugby admits the Top 14 giants are now favourites to win Pool 3.

Racing, who had thrashed Saints 33-3 at Stade Yves-du-Manoir six days earlier, frustrated Mallinder’s men at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night, heading home with a 9-9 draw.

That leaves Saints two points behind the French side, who also have a game in hand.

But Mallinder was happy with how his team played as their spirited showing earned them a draw, in which Stephen Myler and Dan Carter both landed three penalties.

“It was a big improvement,” Mallinder said.

“We didn’t think that the score last week reflected the performance.

“We knew we could turn it round this week and it was a much better performance.

“Attacking wise we showed some really good intent.

“We played pretty well in attack, but probably weren’t as clinical as we needed to be.

“Around the field we were very strong, we stopped them playing.

“You’ve got to match their physicality and we stepped up our defence.”

And on the current pool situation, Mallinder said: “Racing are still favourites to get out of the group and quality, but they do have to go to Glasgow, which we know is difficult.

“We’ve got to focus on our last two games, score as many points as we can and see where we end up.”