Mallinder delighted with Wilson’s progress

WELL DONE - Ken Pisi congratulates James Wilson on one of his two tries against Wasps (picture: Linda Dawson)

WELL DONE - Ken Pisi congratulates James Wilson on one of his two tries against Wasps (picture: Linda Dawson)

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Jim Mallinder feels James Wilson is starting to make the Saints No.15 shirt his own after seeing the Kiwi shine in his two starts for the club.

Wilson, who signed on from Bourgoin during the summer, was at the double on Friday night, grabbing his first tries for Northampton as they beat Wasps 24-6.

His all-round display was one to savour and the 29-year-old deservedly claimed the man-of-the-match award, having also performed well on debut six days earlier, in the win against Worcester.

Wilson is showing Saints can cope without England star Ben Foden, who is out for around 12 weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage.

And Mallinder couldn’t hide his delight at the form of his summer recruit.

“(I’m) very happy,” said the Saints boss. “You never want to lose someone like Ben Foden but James Wilson is a tremendous player.

“You can see he’s good in attack, he’s got an unbelievable boot and is good under the high ball.

“It’s unfortunate we lost Ben and Paul Diggin to long-term injury but James has made that position his own.”

Wilson spent eight years at provincial side Southlands before securing a move to Bourgoin last year.

But with the French side in financial trouble this summer, Saints swooped, and they haven’t looked back, with the versatile ace settling in quickly at the Gardens.

“He’s played quite a lot of rugby has James,” said Mallinder. “He played a lot in New Zealand and then went to France and played there.

“He seems happy playing for Saints and he’s fitted into our pattern and into the club very well.”

Explaining how Saints came to sign the player, Mallinder added: “He was one of those who was passed around and asked for us to have a look at and he was one who took the eye.”