Jim Mallinder says George North’s super-show against Ospreys displayed what a talented all-round player the Wales wing is.
North racked up four tries as his team produced a fantastic performance at Franklin’s Gardens, earning a 34-6 victory that kick-started their Champions Cup bid.
Saints triumphed despite suffering a double injury blow in the centres, with James Wilson and Luther Burrell forced off.
Wilson’s departure after just nine minutes captapulted North into a central role and it was one in which he thrived, earning his team the bonus point with a quartet of scores.
“George is a good player, isn’t he?” said Saints boss Mallinder. “He’s good on the wing but he’s just shown what a talented all-round player he is to come into the centre.
“Wing is his preferred position, but he’s played in the centre at Leinster away when we won out there and was tremendous.
“That was a great performance today.”
Saints now join Ospreys at the top of Pool 5, with both teams sitting on five points and rivals Racing Metro travelling to Treviso on Sunday.
Mallinder’s men had lost 20-11 at Racing a week earlier, but the victory against the PRO12 table-toppers provided a welcome shot in the arm.
“It puts us back on track after the performance of last week and particularly not picking the bonus point up,” said Mallinder.
“It’s puts us on five points, Ospreys have got five points as well and now we’ve got Treviso home and away in December.
“As always in Europe it normally goes down to the wire and it’s probably going to this year.”