Mallinder demands more from Saints

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder is seeking improvement from all of his squad during this weekend’s final round of pre-season friendlies.

Northampton XVs will play in two matches this weekend. On Friday evening they travel to the Arms Park to play Cardiff Blues before entertaining Italians Benetton Treviso at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

Mallinder said: “With only a week to go before the Premiership it is important that we have strength in depth.”

“This weekend is all about giving game time to as many players as possible and giving them the opportunity to put their hand up for selection for the Worcester match.

“This is why we have arranged these two tough matches. Both Cardiff and Treviso are used to playing at the highest level in the Heineken Cup, which means that our players will have to put in good performances if they want to stand out.

“We took some steps forward last weekend. Our youngsters had a physical outing against Nottingham while the game against the Force was a real test of our pace and ability to last the full 80 minutes of fast action. I am looking for this to happen again on Friday and Sunday.”