Mallinder 'beaming from ear to ear' after making long-awaited comeback
Harry Mallinder was 'beaming from ear to ear' after making his return from injury for the Wanderers on Monday night.
Mallinder was given 40 minutes from the start, lining up at full-back in the Premiership Rugby Shield game against Gloucester United at Franklin's Gardens.
He had not played since October 2018, when he suffered a serious knee injury in a Challenge Cup game against Clermont Auvergne.
And his presence in the 15 shirt was a hugely welcome sight for all of a Saints persuasion.
"He was probably the biggest man on the pitch at full-back and it was great," said Saints assistant coach Matt Ferguson.
"We said to the boys before the game that if we worked as hard in the game as Harry had in the past 14 months to get back, the game would take care of itself.
"I don't have a huge amount of personal link time with Harry but I've been hugely impressed because in the background he's always in the gym, he's always working hard to do what he needs to do.
"The crowd appreciated it when he took that first high ball and set off at pace.
"Looking at the size of his arms and legs at the moment, I'm glad he's running away from me, not towards me."
Mallinder was replaced at half-time as the Wanderers went on to lose 34-17 at the Gardens.
But the main thing was that the 23-year-old came through unscathed.
And when asked why Mallinder was taken off at the interval, Ferguson said: "It was just his return.
"We went in at half-time and shook his hand and he was literally beaming from ear to ear.
"I think he was looking for a lung at that point, but he knew what his return was and he got some good contact and time on the ball and it was certainly a welcome return.
"What we'll do now over the next couple of games is build up his match fitness and match time, and I'm sure we'll be seeing quite a bit of Harry in the future."