Mallinder delighted as Saints hit the summit

Calum Clark (right) is all smiles after Saints' dramatic win at Exeter (pictures: Linda Dawson)

Calum Clark (right) is all smiles after Saints' dramatic win at Exeter (pictures: Linda Dawson)

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Jim Mallinder says his table-topping Saints are in a good place after earning a ninth successive win at the expense of Exeter Chiefs.

George Pisi’s late try and Stephen Myler’s conversion secured a gritty 17-16 victory at a windswept Sandy Park on Saturday evening.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

The success, which also included scores from James Wilson and Samu Manoa, moved Mallinder’s men above Saracens at the Aviva Premiership summit.

And the director of rugby is delighted with the situation his team, shorn of eight internationals for the trip to the west country, now find themselves in.

“A lot of credit to Exeter,” said Mallinder. “They played some good rugby in those conditions.

“We got someone (GJ van Velze) sin-binned and a silly pass (from Wilson) let them back into the game, but a lot of credit to our lads in the way they came back.

“We camped down in their 22 for the last 15 minutes, had a number of plays where we came close and to score that try with a couple of minutes to go was outstanding.

“We talked about Exeter and how they play for 80 minutes and we would have to do the same. That’s exactly how it was, to score the try with three minutes to go.

“We’re in a good place at the moment. We’ve got internationals doing well for England and for Wales and we’ve got some good lads back at home.”