Heineken Cup: Saints deserved to be eliminated, says Jim Mallinder
Heineken Cup: Northampton Saints' Jim Mallinder admits his side deserved to be eliminated after losing to Glasgow Warriors
Jim Mallinder admitted Northampton Saints deserved to go out of the Heineken Cup after a late Peter Horne try condemned them to defeat against the Glasgow Warriors.
His troops, currently fifth in the Aviva Premiership table, came into their final clash of the group stages knowing that a bonus-point victory could keep their slim qualification hopes alive.
But it was not to be as, despite running in three tries through Dom Waldouck, George Pisi and Ben Foden, the Saints fell to a 27-20 defeat by Glasgow.
And Mallinder admitted afterwards that his side’s inconsistency had been the downfall of their European campaign.
“We showed that when we want to we can get performances; the win at Ulster away – the only visiting team to win at Ravenhill this season – was magnificent for us,” he said.
“But to win these competitions you need to be more consistent.We won three games and lost three games and that isn’t good enough.
“We came to try and get to the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup. We knew it was an outside chance, we needed four tries. We were close, but we weren’t close enough.”
Elsewhere in the Heineken Cup on Saturday, Sale Sharks’ disappointing campaign finished off with a 26-14 loss at Cardiff Blues.
A much-changed Sharks side ran in two scores through Tommy Taylor and Aston Croall but they were overpowered by the Welsh outfit.
Tries from Lloyd Williams and Michael Paterson, in addition to 16 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, proved the difference as Blues won their first game of the European campaign.
And Exeter Chiefs made a good fist of welcoming reigning champions Leinster to Sandy Park but ended up 29-20 losers.
With the Irish region desperate for a bonus-point win that could keep their qualification through to the knock-out stages alive, they had run in four tries by the 53rd minute.
The Chiefs scored two converted tries of their own with a penalty score and a Neil Clark effort in addition to two penalties from Gareth Steenson – but it was not enough.
Meanwhile, in the Amlin Challenge Cup on Saturday Brian Smith’s London Irish side continued their winning start to 2013 with a 17-7 win against Bordeaux-Begles.
Marland Yarde was the star of the show, scoring one try and making another in the Exiles victory and earned the praise of Smith, his director of rugby calling him an international winger.
“It was an ugly win,” said Smith. “The pleasing thing was that we rallied and fought back and got our noses in front at half-time.
“Marland Yarde is an international winger, he is that now. He wouldn’t be out of place on the left wing for England.
“He’s really an electric player and I think Stuart Lancaster has a lot of great options, but I’m not sure there’s many better than Marland Yarde playing in this league.”
Elsewhere Worcester Warriors ran riot against Gernika with 11 tries in a 71-19 mauling, Josh Drauniniu’s double the pick of the bunch.
Freddie Burns limped off injured for Gloucester Rugby but that was not enough to derail them as they won out 36-16 against Mont de Marsan.
Jonny May’s return from injury continued in style with two tries while Henry Trinder also crossed twice and Charlie Sharples once in the comfortable victory.
But Burns, who limped off after attempting an early penalty for the Cherry & Whites, will be a big concern for both director of rugby Nigel Davies and England coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of the Six Nations.
Jack Cuthbert was the star for Bath Rugby as he ran in a hat-trick of tries in a 53-8 win against Bucuresti.
And London Welsh’s debut in European competition came to an end with a 39-17 defeat to Stade Francais despite two tries from Phil Mackenzie for the Exiles.
© Sportsbeat 2012