Saints boss Mallinder rues missed opportunity

Jim Mallinder (left) says Saints did not play well enough to secure a home LV= Cup final place (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jim Mallinder (left) says Saints did not play well enough to secure a home LV= Cup final place (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Jim Mallinder admits a home LV= Cup final would have been ‘ideal’ for Saints.

But he says they simply didn’t play well enough to beat Saracens in Saturday afternoon’s final-four clash at Allianz Park.

Tries from David Strettle and Mike Ellery, plus the kicking of Ben Spencer and Nils Mordt, helped secure a 24-20 success for the home side.

It meant Saints, who had bossed the opening 30 minutes, taking a 13-5 lead through Sam Olver’s try and kicking prowess, missed out on next Sunday’s Franklin’s Gardens showpiece.

And Mallinder said: “It would have been ideal for us and it was something we were targeting so it’s very disappointing.

“We came down here to win.

We gave away some stupid penalties and that meant we were chasing the game.

Saints boss Jim Mallinder

“It’s been a good competition for us - we’ve managed to play a lot of players in it, we’ve had five good games in it - but we’d have liked to have gone further.”

Saracens’ impressive start to the second half laid the foundations for their victory, with Ellery’s superb solo score and Spencer’s kicking turning the game around.

And though replacement Lee Dickson grabbed a try to help narrow the gap to one point with 15 minutes to go, Nils Mordt’s drop goal secured Saracens’ place in the Gardens final.

“It’s very disappointing,” Mallinder added. “Nobody wants to lose, particularly not in semi-finals of competitions.

“We came down here to win it but we just came up short.

“It was a decent first-half performance but the game went away from us in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

“We gave away some stupid penalties and that meant we were chasing the game.

“There was a breeze that was in our favour the first half and we probably needed to score a couple more times if possible.

“You never want to concede but conceding straight after the restart didn’t help us either.

“It was a really disappointing game today.”