MALLINDER PRAISES PLAYERS

Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder has praised his players for their performance. Chris Ashton scored two tries in the 26-19 win, while team-mates Ben Foden, Tom Wood and Dylan Hartley also featured in the Six Nations opener.

Mallinder told BBC Look East: "Tom had an outstanding debut. He didn't seem out of place and actually excelled.

"Dylan answered all the critics with a good performance. Ben had another really solid game. I'm delighted."

Jim Mallinder refused to condemn wing Chris Ashton too harshly for his one-handed, diving try in the game.

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MYLER SIGNS NEW DEAL

Northampton Saints fly-half Stephen Myler has agreed to a new deal with the club. BBC Radio Northampton understands that the 26-year-old will now stay at Franklin's Gardens until the end of the 2012/13 season.

He told the club's website: "Saints is a great place to be at the moment and I'm delighted to be staying here.

"Obviously there are plenty of things to consider, but it ultimately comes down to a rugby decision."

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DOWSON GETS NEW DEAL

Phil Dowson has secured a new deal with the Northampton Saints. The 29-year-old, who can play in all three back-row positions, has featured 47 times since joining from Newcastle in the summer of 2009.

"I wanted to stay and the club seemed pretty keen for me to stay, so it was a no brainer really," he said.

"We set high standards, which come from the top, and the quality of the squad shows that we need to be ambitious."

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NORTHAMPTON SIGN PRESCOTT

Northampton Saints have signed Leinster prop Ben Prescott till the end of the season. The Libyan-born 32-year-old only moved to the Irish province in September from Nottingham, whom he joined just four months earlier from Rotherham.

"Having Ben in the squad will provide cover in a position where you can never have too many players," said Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"He has shown his quality consistently at Championship level."

He added: "We have a lot of games coming up and I'm sure that Ben's experience will come in useful."

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NORTHAMPTON RECORD WIN OVER CARDIFF

Northampton rugby team recorded a much-needed win over the Cardiff blues. A Dan Parks penalty gave the visitors the lead, and although a converted Paul Diggin try put Saints in front, three Parks penalties put the Blues 12-7 up.

A Stephen Myler penalty made it 12-10 at the break and Saints went in front through Chris Ashton's converted try.

Two more Myler penalties then kept the Blues at arm's length, despite a fifth penalty from Parks for the visitors.

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WILSON FEARS FOR IRELAND'S CAREER

Northampton Saints' Irish forward Roger Wilson says that he is concerned over this international career. The 29-year-old number eight, who has earned just one Ireland cap, against Japan in 2005, was left out of Declan Kidney's autumn internationals squad.

And the big Saints man told BBC Look East: "I am disappointed. Declan Kidney hasn't included too many players based over in England.

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SAINTS GO CLEAR AT THE TOP

Northampton went into the top of the Premiership table with a healthy point difference after beating Bath.

Two Shane Geraghty penalties and a Phil Dowson try gave Saints an 11-0 lead. Olly Barkley landed a penalty for Bath on the stroke of half-time but a quick-fire Chris Ashton double and a Geraghty penalty saw Saints pull away.

Joe Ansbro scored out wide to earn the hosts a four-try bonus point before Ben Williams's late consolation for Bath.

ASHTON WANTS TO BE AN ENGLAND REGULAR

Northampton Saints' Ashton says that he is aiming to be England regular. The 23-year-old was named Premiership Player of the Season last season and helped the Saints to second place, having spent most of the season as a fan in the England Rugby Hospitality Tickets.

"My main aim is to get the Saints where we want to be and where we were last year," Ashton told BBC Northampton.

"Then in autumn my aim is to stay in the England set-up and get my name included in that team every week."

SEELY LEAVES THE SAINTS

Grant Seely has left Northampton Saints coaching role by mutual consent. The 36-year-old former forward featured for Northampton for 15 years before moving onto the coaching staff.

He told the club website: "I've spent 19 years at the Saints and have experienced the full range of emotions during my time at the club.

"The Northampton Saints will always have a special place in my heart."

He added: "I've learned a great deal from my time as a player and especially in the last four years as a coach.

NORTHAMPTON RELEASE PLAYERS

Northampton Saints have confirmed that 12 players will leave their first-team squad over the summer, and they will no longer offer fans a discounted rate on Wales Rugby Hospitality Tickets.

Juandre Kruger (Bulls), Neil Best (Worcester) and James Cannon (Wasps) have already agreed to join new clubs.

Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Mark Hopley, Scott Gray, Barry Everitt, Chris Mayor, Joe Gray, Darren Morris, Jon Vickers and John Brake are also now departing.

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