DCSIMG

Ulster can set Saints up for cracking Christmas

ULSTER BOOST - Jim Mallinder (right) and forwards coach Dorian West are hoping for a frutiful festive period for Saints (Picture: Linda Dawson)

ULSTER BOOST - Jim Mallinder (right) and forwards coach Dorian West are hoping for a frutiful festive period for Saints (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Jim Mallinder says Saints’ win against Ulster will be a ‘massive help’ as they aim to enjoy a fruitful festive period in the Aviva Premiership.

Mallinder’s men host Harlequins on Saturday before facing Saracens in Milton Keynes and Exeter at Sandy Park.

It couldn’t be a much tougher trio of games as those three sides all occupy places in the league’s top six.

But Saints go into the game with confidence levels sky high after the fantastic 10-9 Heineken Cup victory at Ravenhill last Saturday night.

And while he isn’t getting too carried away with the excellent European display, boss Mallinder knows it has provided a platform to build on in the coming weeks.

He said: “We know one good win doesn’t make the season, which is why you shouldn’t get too high when you win and too low when you lose, but it’s been a good win and that sets us up nicely.

“We’ve got three really tough games over Christmas and new year and that game will be a massive help towards that.”

One of the most impressive aspects of Saints’ display in Belfast was the way the bench players came on and kept the intensity levels high.

Men such as Brian Mujati and Alex Waller added real power in the scrum and Mallinder had nothing but praise for his super subs.

“It was really good, those bench players played well,” said the director of rugby. “We started scrummaging well and the changes continued that.

“It’s great when you can go to your scrum and put them under pressure like we did on Saturday.”

And he added: “The front five were outstanding. The set piece was really, really good.

“At the breakdown the week before we couldn’t get any quick ball and Ulster strangled us, held us up on numerous occasions and we didn’t get on the front foot at all.

“On Saturday, right from the start, we got on the front foot, the forwards worked really hard around the corner, we kept some good width to our game and we could have possibly scored another couple of tries.”

 

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