Top spot delights Mallinder

Salisbury Journal: Jim Mallinder's side returned to the top of the table with a win over Worcester Jim Mallinder's side returned to the top of the table with a win over Worcester

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder was pleased with his side's 30-14 Aviva Premiership win over bottom side Worcester despite the Saints missing out on a bonus point.

Saints made hard work of the first half before out-muscling a Warriors side who saw their captain Jonathan Thomas sent off in the second half.

Indeed, Worcester were down to 13 men at one point with Sam Betty in the sin-bin and team-mate Leonardo Senatore was also yellow-carded in the first half.

But after seeing 15 points from Stephen Myler's boot, a penalty try and two GJ van Velze tries take his side back to the top of the Premiership, Mallinder was a happy man.

"We're top of the league, which is a pretty good place to be to be honest," he said.

"It's (difficult) in international weeks when we've got a number of our best players missing and a number of them still injured as well.

"It's slightly frustrating that we couldn't get the bonus point in the last few minutes, but very pleasing we're still in winning ways.

"They picked a big, heavy pack and stopped us mauling, legally or not, but they stopped us.

"We knew that like when we went down to Worcester earlier this season, that if we kept moving the ball and kept playing decent rugby the gaps would appear, and so it proved."

With Newcastle picking up a point in defeat to Harlequins, Worcester are now 11 points adrift at the foot of the table.

Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan said: "We didn't get anything out of it, but we did as a group in terms of showing we were prepared to fight. We move on to next week.

"We've got a challenge here this season with this group. I know what next season looks like, but I'm interested in the people here at the moment and they did a good job today.

"We didn't get anything out of it this week, but we've got a home game next week and if we keep turning in emotional performances like this one and the one last week we're going to cause someone a problem soon.

"If we get one win then everyone else is going to start looking behind them and we'll go from there."

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