Jim Mallinder hailed his England half-backs after Lee Dickson and Stephen Myler helped steer Saints to victory at Saracens.
Mallinder’s men earned a memorable 31-24 success in torrential rain at Allianz Park, moving back to the top of the Aviva Premiership pile in the process.
The Saints forwards squeezed the life out of Saracens, giving Dickson and Myler the platform to put their team in the right positions.
And they did that, with Myler landing 16 points in a typically assured display and Dickson playing a key role in two first-half scores.
England’s loss proved to be Saints’ gain, and Mallinder was delighted with the pair, who have not played a single minute for their country this autumn.
“They were both very good,” said Mallinder. “It’s very difficult when you come back from England duty.
“Mentally and physically, it’s a tough ask to start playing for your club, particularly at half-back when there’s lots of key decisions going through.
“It was certainly something that, last week (in the defeat to Exeter), by playing on a Friday, we didn’t have the advantage of spending too much time withe the England lads, we only had one training session.
“Playing on a Sunday has definitely helped our preparation, because you get more time, you get the players back and the nine and 10 have been with us all week, which has been a massive help to us.”
Saints roared into a 25-8 half-time lead and staved off a late Saracens fightback to secure an impressive success.
And Mallinder was delighted that his team’s game plan paid off in such grand style.
“Tactically, we got it right,” he said. “It’s always a tough place to play, and the conditions were difficult but we played really well in the first half, really accurately.
“We got our tactics right and got a good lead.
“We got some early momentum in that first half, they came back at us in the second half so it was a good battle, a good test.”