Jim Mallinder labelled Courtney Lawes ‘the complete player’ after the lofty lock played a starring role in Saints’ 27-16 win over Ospreys.
Lawes had a huge impact throughout and was deservedly named man of the match as his side claimed a crucial win in Heineken Cup Pool 1.
It was the latest in a string of fine performances from the 24-year-old, who also shone at Castres a week earlier and was the star man in the draw at Leicester.
And Mallinder had nothing but praise for the England forward, who he feels has improved hugely in recent times.
“Courtney was sensational, not just in his restarts but in his defence,” said the Saints boss. “He’s consistently making big tackles.
“His carries, he consistently makes big carries and he’s doing that for 80 minutes. That’s where he’s moved on over the last few months.
“He was sort of in and out of games in the past but now he’s the complete player for the full game.”
Saints claimed four points from the win over Ospreys, but were unable to claim four tries as Ospreys frustrated them in the final 10 minutes at Franklin’s Gardens.
But scores from Samu Manoa, Christian Day and Ben Foden were enough to keep their side in the hunt ahead of a potentially decisive double-header against Leinster in December.
And Mallinder said: “It is a satisfying win. Generally we played well. We scored three big team tries and defensively we were pretty sound throughout.
“We’re happy with the win. Clearly it would have been lovely to have sneaked that bonus point at the end but we’re going into these Leinster games with everything to play for.”