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Saints boss Mallinder expects a Harlequins attacking onslaught

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Jim Mallinder knows Saints will be attacked from all angles when they face Premiership champions Harlequins on Saturday.

Quins have outgunned every other side in England’s top division this season, scoring 284 points, 27 more than the next best finishers, Exeter Chiefs.

Conor O’Shea’s men are also the highest scorers in this season’s Heineken Cup, racking up 180 points in just four games, which is 42 more than Toulon and Clermont Auvergne.

Consequently, Mallinder, who saw his side lose 31-30 to Quins in the LV= Cup earlier this season, knows what to expect.

“They’re a very good team and they’re playing well,” said the Saints boss.

“They’re coming off Heineken Cup games in massive spirits because they’ve been beating teams easily.

“They’re top of the league and they’re playing good rugby. They’re not just set-piece orientated, they play really good 15-man rugby and they look to take you on from all over.

“We had a very close game against them in the LV and we were gutted to lose in that last minute so we know what they can do.”

Quins are up there with the best sides in Europe right now, but so were the team Saints toppled last weekend.

Ulster had won 25-6 at Franklin’s Gardens Friday before to make it 13 wins in a row this season, but Mallinder’s men sprung a surprise in the return at Ravenhill, winning 10-9 last Saturday.

The Northampton director of rugby has been reflecting on that amazing eight-day turnaround and considering the training methods used ahead of the win in Belfast.

“You do look back and you do look to see the things you’ve done in the week, in terms of training and what’s been said,” he said.

“I can say that before that first game against Ulster I didn’t know we’d come out and lose by a try bonus point.

“I did know last week that we had a very good week.

“I did know the players were in a very determined mood and sometimes when you get a kicking like we did you have to respond and we did that.”

 

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