Talented Saints teen Mallinder ready to take next step on remarkable journey
Much has happened since the last time Saints faced Leicester.
And for Harry Mallinder, it has been a particularly eventful period.
Back on January 9 at Welford Road, the 19-year-old was an unused replacement, chomping at the bit to make his first appearance in a big game.
He had experienced LV= Cup clashes with Scarlets and Newcastle Falcons the season before, but the youngster was keen to make the step up.
And though his chance didn’t come at Tigers, he would only have to wait another eight days before announcing himself with the winning try against Glasgow Warriors in the Champions Cup.
He followed those heroics with another man-of-the-match showing, at Scarlets, where his try contributed to a bonus-point win that propelled Saints into the European quarter-finals.
His ascent continued as he added another try to his tally, against Worcester in February, and he signed a new Saints contract in March before scoring a bonus-point try in the win against Harlequins.
Now, Mallinder is set to face Tigers for the first time in a first-team fixture, and he has been reflecting on his recent journey.
“It’s been a great season for me - my breakthrough season,” he said.
“I’m just delighted to be involved and get this opportunity with the senior team.
“It (the try against Glasgow) was a great way to start. Since then, I’ve just eased into it.
“It’s been nice to have a run of games at the top level.
“I was very fortunate early on and I was in the right place at the right time.
“I was rewarded for the hard work the team put in. They were team tries that I was fortunate enough to finish off.”
Mallinder has been the saviour for Saints on a few occasions already this season.
And how he would love to write his name in the headlines once again when Tigers head to Franklin’s Gardens for a vital Premiership fixture on Saturday.
“I can’t wait, to be honest,” he said.
“I sat on the bench at Welford Road and unfortunately didn’t get on, but this weekend will be my opportunity.
“I’ve lived in Northampton supporting the club for nine years.
“I’ve been in the stands, I’ve been a ball boy and it will be great to be involved in one this weekend and to hopefully make a difference.”
And it isn’t long before conversation turns to Mallinder’s father, who is, of course, the first-team boss at the Gardens.
“I do get asked it a lot and I always say it’s what I’m used to,” said Harry of playing under the guidance of dad Jim.
“It is what it is - he’s my dad and he’s my coach. We just crack on with what we have to do.”
And what the Mallinder family have to do this weekend is mastermind a win that would keep Saints’ top-four hopes alive.