Mallinder confident Saints can end trophy drought

Saints boss Jim Mallinder feels he now has a squad capable of finally ending the club’s major silverware drought.

Northampton have not won one of the game’s biggest trophies since 2000, when they beat Munster to clinch the Heineken Cup at Twickenham.

ALL COMING TOGETHER - Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder

ALL COMING TOGETHER - Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder

They have come agonisingly close since, with the appointment of Mallinder in the summer of 2007 heralding a successful spell.

Saints reached the Heineken Cup final in 2011, only to lose to Leinster after going in at half-time 22-6 up at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

They have also reached three successive Premiership play-off semi-finals, but fell just short in each, the most recent being the 25-23 defeat at Harlequins last season.

But Mallinder has recruited seven players this summer and he believes this can be the year when Saints go all the way to claim a significant crown.

“Look at the last two seasons, we were 40 minutes away from winning a Heineken Cup (last year),” said the director of rugby, who takes his side to Gloucester on Saturday. “Last season we were four, five minutes away from making a Premiership final, so we’re doing something right.

“We’re not quite getting there but we’re doing something right and we just need to push on, make a few adjustments to a couple of things and if we do that I’m confident we’ve got a squad capable of going that stage better.”

Saints have enjoyed a good pre-season, during which Leinster and Edinburgh were dispatched with ease.

But Mallinder knows the real test comes at Kingsholm on Saturday, against a Gloucester side now managed by former Scarlets boss Nigel Davies, who took over from Bryan Redpath this summer.

“You keep things fairly basic in terms of your pre-season,” said Mallinder. “You don’t want to give away too much too soon but what we have done is challenged ourselves physically.

“We had a very tough week out in France and played a game on the back of that, we then played Leinster and travelled to Edinburgh. Playing away from home is always different to playing at the Gardens so that was a challenge in itself.

“We’ve done everything we wanted to do and now it’s just the big test of playing Premiership opposition.”