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.

“I don’t think you want to take away the enthusiasm for scoring tries,” he said.