Mallinder using rotation to motivate Saints
Jim Mallinder is using rotation to keep his Saints squad on their toes this season.
The director of rugby made four changes for the game at Harlequins last Friday, even though his side had thrashed Exeter 38-11 in their Premiership opener six days earlier.
And it worked to perfection as the fresh faces, including the likes of Samu Manoa and Kahn Fotuali’i, helped Saints claim a gritty 13-6 success at The Stoop.
They now head to Gloucester on Saturday with two wins under their belt and plenty of selection options.
And Mallinder said: “It is important that we keep everybody motivated and playing well. We can’t play players 32 games a season for 80 minutes. We need to keep everybody playing.
“We had a good week last week. Our Wanderers team beat Leicester on the Monday, we had a short training week but really, really good and we went to Quins and won.
“We’ve had two really good wins so far and we want to continue that this week.”
The strength of the Saints squad is greater than ever, especially in the pack, with the likes of GJ van Velze, Salesi Ma’afu and Rob Verbakel yet to appear for the first team.
Those men have instead helped the Wanderers win their opening two games of the season, the latest of which was a 52-26 demolition of Worcester Cavaliers on Monday night.
And Mallinder knows such depth will be crucial when he loses his international aces during the autumn series and the Six Nations.
“You need it,” said Mallinder. “We’ve got a few games now but then it’s the autumn internationals and we’ll lose players so we need as strong a squad as we can possibly get.
“Some of the sides we play are very strong, they’ve got strong squads and it means we can just change around a little bit.
“It was really pleasing to see the lads who came on in the game on Friday step up and us not lose our shape or affect our game plan.”