Jim Mallinder lauded the quality of George North after the Wales star’s third try in as many games propelled Saints to victory at Ospreys.
North built on good work by Kahn Fotuali’i to break clear from his own half and ignite what had been a turgid Heineken Cup encounter at the Liberty Stadium.
Saints were 12-3 up at that point thanks to four Stephen Myler penalties, and George Pisi and replacement Glenn Dickson added to the tally late on to secure a 29-17 win.
But it was North’s moment of magic that will live longest in the memory, and Mallinder was delighted with the contribution of the former Scarlets wing.
“It was a quality try, wasn’t it?” said the Saints boss.
“George will get all the headlines, and rightly so, but you’ve got to give great credit to Kahn Fotuali’i, who made a great turnover and showed his ability to see that space on the short side. Suddenly two on two became two on one and a half and that’s all George needs.”
And Mallinder added: “He’s really settling into the way we want to play.
“Some people said he had a slow start but he did some brilliant things early on. Our league game down at Gloucester, we only got back into that game thanks to George’s break out of the 22, to actually score the try at the end to take us into the lead.
“He’s a quality player is George. We know he’s young but he’s determined to improve and work hard at his game and that’s what he’s doing with our coaches.
“He’s got everything to play for, hasn’t he? He plays for a good club, he plays for Wales, he’s happy and we want all our players to want to play well for us and for their international team.”