Saints in great shape ahead of Euro assault

Saints celebrate one of their six tries against Sale at Franklin's Gardens (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Saints celebrate one of their six tries against Sale at Franklin's Gardens (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Jim Mallinder admits Saints are where they want to be as they prepare to put the Aviva Premiership on the back-burner and go in pursuit of success in Europe.

A hat-trick from Samu Manoa, added to tries from the dazzling Pisi brothers and Kahn Fotuali’i ensured Sale Sharks were routed 43-10 at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Saints V Sale. NNL-141110-174650009

Saints V Sale. NNL-141110-174650009

The victory was Saints’ fifth from six league games so far this season and keeps them top of the table.

Mallinder’s men will now get set for a tough test in the Rugby Champions Cup next Saturday as they open up with a mouthwatering game against Racing Metro in Paris.

And the director of rugby said: “Today’s performance shows we’re in good shape. It’s where we want to be after six games.

“We’re still a bit disappointed with our Wasps defeat, but that happens.

“It’s a long season so we’ve won five out of six, we’ve got some bonus points and we can put the Premiership on the back-burner now and put all our thoughts into doing well in Europe.”

Samoan wing Ken Pisi sparked the evisceration of Sale with a sensational opening score followed by a fine assist for sibling George.

And with the forward power overwhelming the Sharks in the second half, Saints could boast another impressive bonus-point victory.

“It was a good performance,” said Mallinder. “They got quite a lot ball and territory at times in the first half, but we defended well and took our opportunities in attack.

“There were two moments of magic from Ken Pisi and the forwards got on top in the second half with tries from mauls.

“The defence was really good. We could have easily conceded a few more tries but the attitude to stick with it was pleasing.”