sport

North power delights Mallinder

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder hailed George North's finishing prowess after the Wales wing scored a crucial try in the 23-9 win over Harlequins.

North lit up a dour affair on 45 minutes when he caught a poor clearance and raced along the touchline before bumping off a tackle from opposite number Charlie Walker to score the opening try.

"We needed that from George, it was fantastic to see him score in the corner," said Mallinder.

"Young Charlie Walker is a talented player but when you're one on one with George, you have to make sure you make a good tackle."

Mallinder took satisfaction from beating Quins after facing the accusation last season that Saints were flat track bullies.

"Doing the double over Harlequins is pleasing because of all that chat this time last year," said Mallinder.

"You remember things and we hurt last year when people said we couldn't beat a top four side.

"I'm delighted that we've done the double over Quins and beaten Bath and Saracens here. We've shown we can win big games."

Watched by England head coach Stuart Lancaster and his assistants Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt, man of the match Dylan Hartley scored Northampton's second try with eight minutes remaining.

The match was an awful spectacle that rapidly deteriorated into a series of uncompleted scrums and knock-ons, moving from set piece to set piece until interrupted by the whistle of referee Greg Garner.

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea was unhappy with the amount of time taken to review incidents using video technology.

"I'm incredibly frustrated by how long energy is taken out of games by looking at decisions that could be easily made," said O'Shea.

"We'll give feedback through the right channels rather than when I'm emotionally charged and I am, trust me.

"We got on the wrong side of the referee for the whole match and the little things in the game went Northampton's way.

"I'm frustrated by a lot of what happened out there and I'm sure the crowd are as well. Everything possible that could have gone against us, did."