Saints will 'keep ticking over' as they hope for Stade Français success

Jim Mallinder (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jim Mallinder (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

​Jim Mallinder says Saints will 'keep ticking over' in case they get the chance to play in the Champions Cup play-offs later this month.

Mallinder's men beat Harlequins 22-20 at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday, but it was only enough for a seventh-placed finish.

Quins finished sixth, having won more Aviva Premiership matches than Saints this season.

And that means Saints will be relying on Stade Français to beat Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final in Edinburgh on Friday night.

If Stade do win, Mallinder's men would face Connacht in a Champions Cup play-off at Franklin's Gardens on the following weekend.

And if Saints can win that, they would have a home play-off final against the winner of the clash between Stade Français and Cardiff Blues.

Victory against Stade or Cardiff would see Northampton enter the Champions Cup next season, but if Gloucester win this Friday, Saints will go straight into the Challenge Cup.

It means Saints will watch on with interest when the final takes place at Murrayfield on Friday night.

And Mallinder knows his players must keep training just in case Gloucester lose this week.

"We've got our club dinner on Monday evening so we'll give them a couple of days off now and keep them ticking over," Mallinder said.

"We'll watch on Friday night and see what happens."

If Saints do have to go through the play-offs, they will hope to have skipper Tom Wood available.

Wood, who had shrugged off a shoulder problem to start against Harlequins, was forced off after just 14 minutes.

And when asked for an update, Mallinder said: "Tom Wood got a knee or an elbow in his back so he's a bit sore.

"I don't think it's too bad. He's up and moving around so hopefully that will settle down."