Mallinder insists there is no panic at Saints

MORE DISAPPOINTMENT - Jim Mallinder saw his Saints side lost to Saracens (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
MORE DISAPPOINTMENT - Jim Mallinder saw his Saints side lost to Saracens (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Jim Mallinder insists Saints won’t start to panic after suffering a third defeat in four Aviva Premiership games this season.

Mallinder’s men were beaten 12-6 by Saracens in the first competitive game at the new-look Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Owen Farrell kicked four penalties to give the streetwise champions their fourth successive victory.

It leaves Saints ninth in the table - they could go down to 10th if Wasps win at home to Gloucester on Sunday - and they are nine points adrift of table-topping Sarries.

But Mallinder said: “It’s not as though we’re a disaster and getting thrashed by 50 points every week.

“We have made a few mistakes and we’ve not played as well as we can, but we know we’re a good team, we know we can get better and we know we can win games.

“We’re going to stick together, we’re not going to panic.

“It’s very disappointing to start this way but we’ve got a good chance to get it right (in the Champions Cup clash with Scarlets) next week.”

Mallinder felt a couple of key decisions didn’t go in Saints’ favour against Saracens, with one flashpoint in particular catching the eye.

Referee Luke Pearce opted not to take action against Owen Farrell after the England fly-half appeared to push Tom Wood in the face during the first half.

Saints were 3-0 up at that point and Farrell went on to kick two penalties before the break, including the one which was awarded before the incident was reviewed.

The Saracens man stepped up to a backdrop of boos and slotted the kick, with Mallinder feeling the No.10 should not have been allowed the chance to land it.

“It’s clear for everyone to see,” said the Saints director of rugby. “You can’t go pushing people in the face.

“It’s retaliation and it should have been reversed.”

On his side’s overall performance, Mallinder said: “We had a good first half and were probably pretty unlucky to come in at half-time 6-3 down.

“The scrum, in particular, was very, very good and we had a couple of opportunities, but against a good side you’ve got to take those opportunities.

“We spilled the ball a couple of times in their 22 and towards the end of that first half there were a couple of key decisions that didn’t really go our way.

“In the second half we lost the ball two or three times and against a side like Saracens, they pin you back, they take their opportunities and they build a lead.”