Jim Mallinder admitted Alex Waller ‘took it too far’ as his ‘moment of madness’ cost Saints at Allianz Park.
Waller reacted to Jamie George’s attempts to counter-ruck in the 55th minute of the match and lifted the Saracens hooker above horizontal before putting his head on the player.
Referee Greg Garner discussed the incident with TMO Trevor Fisher and deemed it to be a yellow card offence.
And during the time Waller was off the field, Saints, who were 12-9 up, conceded 12 points as the game slipped away.
They eventually fell to a 27-12 defeat in the Aviva Premiership clash, and Mallinder was not happy with his prop’s actions.
“They are tough enough to beat when you’ve got 15 men so when you’re down to 14 for 20 minutes, you’re really up against it,” said the Saints boss, who also saw replacement lock Sam Dickinson sin-binned during the second half.
“I thought we did pretty well for 55 minutes or so, we put them under pressure and we had the passion and intensity that we needed.
“They were spilling ball, we were just beginning to get into them.
“We had a really important lineout at 12-9 up but we couldn’t look after the ball in their third and it was a moment of madness from Alex Waller that started our downfall.”
However, Waller had appeared to be the victim in the first half of the match as it looked like former Saints wing Chris Ashton had bitten the front row forward on the hand.
Waller told Garner what had happened, and repeated the statement to the Saints coaching staff after the game.
“Alex just repeated what he said to the referee, that he’d been bitten,” Mallinder said.
“But I don’t think that did (have an impact on his later sin-binning).
“It was a tough, physical match and with the incident with Alex Waller and Jamie George, we had the ball, which was the frustrating thing.
“Alex got charged into and he’s taken it too far.”