Mallinder: Saints have a big opportunity in final five games

Harry Mallinder is looking forward to the final five games of the season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Harry Mallinder is looking forward to the final five games of the season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Harry Mallinder says Saints have stopped looking back and are now focusing on enjoying their final five games together.

It has been a difficult season for the black, green and gold, who were eliminated from the Champions Cup at the pool stages, lost in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals and currently sit 10th in the Aviva Premiership standings.

There is set to be a big turnover of players this summer, with long-serving stars Ben Foden and Stephen Myler among a group of several men out of contract.

And Mallinder, who will be staying at Northampton for next season, knows now is the time to ensure those who are leaving get a good send-off.

"We see it as five opportunities to play together," the 21-year-old said.

"Like any season, in the summer, the squad changes. People come and go.

"We've been together this year and it's five more chances to push on and give a good account of ourselves every time we take the field.

"Every time we take the field, it's with positive intent in everything we do, and that won't change in the final five games.

"What an opportunity this week to go to St James' Park, to play a rugby game (against Newcastle Falcons) on that surface at that stadium for the first time. It will be really exciting."

On the season as a whole, Mallinder said: "It's been an interesting season, a difficult one at times.

"Me and as a team, we're not looking back too much any more.

"It's all about these final five games, playing together as a team, enjoying ourselves and putting in good performances."

Mallinder has not played for Saints since the defeat to Exeter on February 24.

But he is ready to return for Saturday's clash with Newcastle.

"After the Exeter game, I had a strange turn and fell ill," Mallinder explained.

"It was a combination of things, a bit of a bug, an illness and it took me a while to shift it.

"I've had a bit of time since, just to recover.

"I went away last week, got a bit of sun and I've come back feeling much healthier, refreshed and ready to go for the final five games."