Mallinder ready for Bath clash

Northampton Saints (1/2 – Amlin Challenge Cup outright) boss Jim Mallinder believes it will be an even contest when his side face Bath in the Amlin Challenge Cup final on May 23.

The Aviva Premiership giants played out a 19-19 draw at The Rec last week in an intriguing dress rehearsal before their encounter in Cardiff later this month.

With Northampton losing in the LV=Cup final to Exeter Chiefs earlier this season, the Saints will be desperate to win some silverware this term, with the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Aviva Premiership titles still up for grabs.

Mallinder was impressed with Bath (6/4 – Amlin Challenge Cup outright) in their recent battle and highlighted England fly-half George Ford as a real threat.

The Saints boss believes there is little to choose between the two teams but feels his side are blessed with their own threats all over the park.

Mallinder told ercrugby.com: “It was a close contest and when we play them again in the Amlin final it’s going to be equally close.

“It was two very equal teams. I think the result was just about fair.

“What do we take from that? They’ve got a big, heavy scrum, as we know. They’ve got two international props there so they’re good in the scrum.

“They defend well and they’ve got those exciting runners out wide, and George Ford makes them tick. But we know we’re also a good side with ball in hand.”

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