Saints boss Mallinder gets back to basics to prepare fringe players for first team test

Saints director of coaching Jim Mallinder
Saints director of coaching Jim Mallinder

Jim Mallinder says Saints have taken things back to basics in a bid to get their squad up to speed for Saturday’s LV= Cup clash with Newcastle Falcons.

Mallinder has lost a phalanx of key men, with the club’s international stars having headed off to camp ahead of the autumn Tests.

That means it has been a transitional week at Franklin’s Gardens, where a host of fringe players have been thrown into the first-team picture.

And the coaches are taking things step by step as they avoid putting too much pressure on the fresher faces.

“It’s slightly different and you’ve got to go back to basics a little bit,” said Mallinder.

“You can’t just assume that you’re at the same point where you were with the international players here. You’ve got to simplify and make sure you get your basic game plan correct.

“That’s what we’ve been doing, we’ve been working very hard behind the scenes. We’ve got some very good leaders in the squad who are driving the standards.”

Mallinder knows the opening two LV= Cup games, against Newcastle and at Scarlets next Friday, are a good dress rehearsal for the return to Premiership action on November 14.

And he is keen to see his men put on a good performance as they scrap it out for places in the squad for the league game against Exeter at the Gardens in a couple of weeks’ time.

“It is a transitional week,” said Mallinder.

“We’re delighted for all the international lads who have gone away. They deserve to be called up and it’s a reflection on the way they’ve played for the club this year.

“We’ve got to move on and prepare, in the short team it’s about doing well in this competition and in the mid-term it’s to get these players up to speed for Premiership games that start in three weeks’ time.

“It’s been a busy week, it’s a great test for them against Newcastle. We’re expecting a big crowd here and it will add to the atmosphere. Hopefully we can put on a really good performance and a good show.”