Mallinder backs North to enjoy ‘massive season’

HAT-TRICK HERO - George North (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

HAT-TRICK HERO - George North (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

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Jim Mallinder believes George North can have a ‘massive season’ for Saints after the Wales juggernaut grabbed a hat-trick in the stunning 53-6 win over Gloucester.

North was unstoppable as part of a sensational team effort, which culminated in eight tries against a beleaguered Cherry and Whites side.

Saints V Gloucester. NNL-140609-011932009

Saints V Gloucester. NNL-140609-011932009

Luther Burrell also dotted down twice, with George Pisi, Kahn Fotuali’i and debutant Jon Fisher making it a first night to remember at Franklin’s Gardens.

North got the ball rolling and went on to complete his treble to leave the Gardens faithful feeling the powerhouse wing could get even better in his second season at Saints.

And Mallinder said: “If he plays like that every week, we’ll be pretty happy.

“Everyone’s got to keep looking to improve, but he’s been great for us has George.

Saints V Gloucester. NNL-140609-011910009

Saints V Gloucester. NNL-140609-011910009

“Last season he was good, but he’s had a good off-season and he’s fresh and he’s fit.

“We’ve got to look after him. It’s like all the players, you’ve got to look after them and hopefully he’ll have a massive season for us.”

It was an emphatic opening to a campaign in which Saints will look to defend their Aviva Premiership title.

And Mallinder was keen to heap praise on his entire squad for the stirring demolition job against a Gloucester side who made a plethora of personnel changes over the summer.

Saints V Gloucester. NNL-140609-011922009

Saints V Gloucester. NNL-140609-011922009

“It was a good performance and we were pleased,” said the Saints director of rugby.

“I was a bit nervous with it being the first game of the season and not knowing what to expect from us and the opposition, particularly with all their changes, but we were good.

“We played with real tempo, had plenty of options and defensively we were very, very physical.”