Saints back Mallinder may win first England cap in second Test

Harry Mallinder (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Harry Mallinder (picture: Sharon Lucey)
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England boss Eddie Jones could hand Harry Mallinder his first cap on Saturday after being impressed with the Saints back during training in Argentina.

Mallinder did not play any part in Saturday’s thrilling 38-34 first Test victory in San Juan.

But Saints’ reigning young player of the year, who turns 21 on Tuesday, could be given a shot in the second Test in Santa Fe next weekend.

“We will have a look for next week,” Jones said.

“We have got a few other guys in the squad who have been performing well in training.

“Nathan Earle and Harry Mallinder have all been doing well so there is good competition in that area and we will have a look at that as the week progresses.”

England secured the first-Test victory thanks to a late try by Sale Sharks wing Denny Solomona.

Piers Francis, who will move to Saints from Super Rugby side the Blues this summer, provided the assist, which was his second of the match as he also teed up George Ford for a try earlier in the half.

It was an impressive cameo from back Francis, who came on to win his first cap and caught the eye.

Saints hooker Dylan Hartley was also involved, skippering England from the start.

And Hartley will now look to lead his team to a series victory on Saturday.

“We need to improve the side for next week,” England boss Jones said.

“We need to improve our maul defence. We gave away too much control in that area. Our scrum lacked consistency.

“We need to make some adjustments in our backs’ running line.

“Those would be the three main areas we are looking at.

“We know Argentina are going to respond.

“It’s always the case when one side wins and one side loses, the side who loses goes back and every detail of how they lost the game they come up with a game plan and perform it energetically.

“We have got to treat this like a loss and make sure we have the same intent to improve from the last game.”

Meanwhile, Saints wing George North played the full 80 minutes on Saturday as he helped the British & Irish Lions beat the Crusaders 12-3 in Christchurch.

North will not be involved on Tuesday though as Warren Gatland makes changes to his team for the game against the Highlanders.

Saints lock Courtney Lawes will start that match in Dunedin, lining up alongside Ireland lock Iain Henderson in the second row.