Mallinder sings praises of Exeter

Pictures by Linda Dawson
Pictures by Linda Dawson

Although he remains positive for the Saints’ chances this weekend, director of rugby Jim Mallinder was full of praise for Exeter Chiefs ahead of their clash at Sandy Park.

The Saints and Chiefs go head-to-head in the race for fourth place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, and the end of season play-off place which comes with it, with Mallinder acknowledging that the home team will be full of confidence when the action gets underway on Sunday afternoon.

“Rob Baxter and his coaches have done very well to lead Exeter to be challenging for a play-off spot this season,” Mallinder said this week. “He has created plenty of team spirit in a squad that is prepared to play all the way to the final whistle, as they showed at Worcester last weekend.

“They have turned Sandy Park into something of a fortress in their two years in Aviva Premiership Rugby and are probably favourites for Sunday’s game.

“However this means that the only pressure we are under is what we create for ourselves. We have trained well this week and there is plenty of determination to put right the wrongs of last Saturday afternoon. All the players have a point to prove and there is a positive mood ahead of our trip to Exeter.

“We know what the match means to the club and our supporters, and we will be putting in every effort to get the win that we all want.”

Mallinder has brought in Stephen Myler and Mark Sorenson to the side that lost to Leicester last time out. They replace Ryan Lamb and Samu Manoa respectively.

Saints: Foden, Ashton, Pisi, Downey, Diggin, Myler, Dickson; Tonga’uiha, Long, Mujati, Sorenson, Day, Craig, Dowson, Wilson.

Exeter: Dollman, Camacho, Rennie, Shoemark, Jess, Mieres, Thomas; Moon, Whitehead, Tui, Hayes, Hanks, Johnson, Scaysbrook, Baxter.