Jim Mallinder hailed the strength of Saints’ back row options after seeing No.8 Sam Dickinson shine on debut on Saturday.
Dickinson was in determined mood as he put in a dominant display to help Northampton thrash Exeter Chiefs 38-11 in the Premiership opener at Franklin’s Gardens.
It was the 28-year-old’s first appearance for the club, with a broken arm having ruled him out of first-team contention for a year following his move from Rotherham Titans last summer.
Dickinson’s display could see him keep his place in the side for the trip to Harlequins on Friday, but Saints have plenty of options should they choose to mix it up.
Last season’s player of the year Samu Manoa scored a try after coming off the bench on Saturday and South African GJ van Velze was not even among the replacements.
Mallinder admits he has got a wealth of options in the back row and is delighted to have Dickinson presenting him with such a selection dilemma.
“Sam came to us from Rotherham last year and didn’t play any first team games,” said the director of rugby.
“He was injured for the majority of the season.
“But he did show what he could do for the Wanderers and on loan at Moseley. They were very impressed with him.
“He’s come and deserved his start on Saturday.
“There’s lots of strength in the back row.
“Samu Manoa can play there and GJ van Velze is a very good No.8, so we’ve got some good strength in that position.”