Mallinder delighted with Saints’ blistering start

George North charges forward on his league debut against Exeter (pictures: Linda Dawson)

George North charges forward on his league debut against Exeter (pictures: Linda Dawson)

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Jim Mallinder labelled Saints’ performance ‘very pleasing’ after they crushed Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens.

Mallinder’s men ran in five tries - four of which came in the first 35 minutes - as they started their Aviva Premiership campaign with a bang.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Scores from captain Dylan Hartley, Tom Wood, Ken Pisi, George Pisi and Samu Manoa secured a maximum five points in a 38-11 victory for the home team.

And Mallinder was a happy man after Saints maintained the momentum gained during a pre-season campaign which saw them win all four of their games.

“It was very pleasing,” said the director of rugby. “You can play pre-season games but you don’t quite know where you are.

“You can run around a lot, do some weight training, but you don’t quite know where you are until your first game. Generally, we’ve got to be pretty happy with that.

“It was a very good attacking first half... four tries. Second half they came back into it a little bit, but our defence was very good.”

Mallinder, though, did pick up on the one negative aspect of the day: sin-binnings for Phil Dowson and Courtney Lawes.

He said: “We probably just need to look at our discipline a little bit. It’s never easy when you’ve spent 40 minutes with 14 men, but in the first half we scored when we were down to 14.

“I thought attack in the first half, defence in the second very good.”