Mallinder surprised more Saints didn’t make England squad

Jim Mallinder has helped Luther Burrell (left) and Saints' other released England players to 'reset their goals' (picture: Linda Dawson)
Jim Mallinder has helped Luther Burrell (left) and Saints' other released England players to 'reset their goals' (picture: Linda Dawson)

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder admits he is surprised that more Saints players didn’t make England’s World Cup squad.

And he says he and his fellow Northampton coaches have been helping those cut from Stuart Lancaster’s group to ‘reset their goals’.

Luther Burrell, Calum Clark, Alex Corbisiero, Lee Dickson and Stephen Myler suffered the agony of failing to make the final 31-man squad for the tournament.

Saints have just three men involved, with Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes set to start in the opener against Fiji on Friday night, while Kieran Brookes is on the bench.

And Mallinder said: “I am surprised. I thought more of them would be included in the 31, but that’s not my decision, it’s somebody else’s.

“Those lads are disappointed, but they’ve got to keep motivated, play well for us and give themselves a chance because I’m sure there will be injuries during this World Cup.

“One, maybe more than one, will get called up.”

And when asked what work he and the Saints coaching team have done to help their disappointed players, Mallinder said: “We rally round all of them and talk to them all to help them reset their goals.

“Clearly for them a goal will have been to get into that World Cup squad and it’s massive, a home World Cup in England.

“You set your targets high and then it’s very, very disappointing when within a few days you get told you’re not actually going to make that squad.

“You’ve got to quickly regroup, reset your goals as quickly as you can and move on.

“Clearly as a club it helps us with players coming back but we’ve got to make sure they’re motivated to play for us.”