Mallinder: Props would queue up to replace Mujati and Tonga’uiha

Jim Mallinder believes there will be plenty of players desperate to step into the shoes of Brian Mujati and Soane Tonga’uiha should they opt to leave Saints.

Mallinder confirmed on Tuesday that he has spoken to the prop pair and that both have received lucrative offers from abroad.

GOOD PLACE TO BE - Brian Mujati (left) and Soan Tonga'uiha (right) pack down with Dylan Hartley (Picture: Linda Dawson)

GOOD PLACE TO BE - Brian Mujati (left) and Soan Tonga'uiha (right) pack down with Dylan Hartley (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Racing Metro are thought to be at the front of the queue to sign the players, with Mujati and Tonga’uiha seemingly close to agreeing deals with the French Top 14 club.

That will leave Saints shorn of their first choice loosehead and tighhead for next season, with Mallinder likely to enter the market to bring in replacements.

And he said: “They’ve done brilliantly for us, those two props. A lot of credit to (forwards coach) Dorian West and the rest of the players for making them better players.

“They didn’t just become the players they are now.

“If teams come in from France, who’ve got a bottomless pit and want to buy a front row, that’s what they’re doing.

“It’s a shame, but for us it’s not the end of the world. There are some cracking players out there, we’ve still got a cracking squad moving forward, who’ll be here next year.

“Which props wouldn’t want to be either side of Dylan Hartley? There are plenty of players who will want to come, and we’ll move forward and get stronger.”

There has been speculation that another prop, Paul Doran-Jones, could also be on his way out of Franklin’s Gardens.

But Mallinder believes the tighthead may be keen to stay and fight for a regular starting spot, should Mujati choose to move on.

“There’s loads of speculation,” said the Saints boss. “People keep asking me about these and it’s ridiculous to comment because no club can talk to Paul Doran-Jones.

“He’s with us until after Christmas and I think he’s very happy here.

“As I’ve said before, with two props going, there’s fantastic opportunities, and who wouldn’t want to play for Saints, with the team that we’ve got?

“It’s opportunities for these players. There’s some cracking players around. We’ve got a few coming through our academy, we’ve got a few already in the squad and there’s other players out there so we’re very optimistic about the future.”