Rugby Union

Jim Mallinder hopes Eddie Jones can give clarification in meeting next week

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Football News

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder revealed he is set to meet England boss Eddie Jones next week after watching his side beat Exeter.

Mallinder accused the RFU of making an unofficial approach for his assistant coach Alex King and insisted after the 8-3 win over the Chiefs that he still knew no more about Jones' intentions after the Australian met with King before Christmas.

Jones, who has been in Australia for Christmas, has identified King as his potential attack coach after adding scrum coach Ian Peel to his backroom staff following the appointments of Steve Borthwick and Paul Gustard.

Mallinder said the club had still not had any contact from the RFU and added: "Eddie is coming back next week and coming into the club to see me for a chat, so hopefully I will know a bit more then."

Jones is believed to be keen on naming Dylan Hartley as England captain, but Mallinder admitted the 29-year-old has a fight on his hands to win a starting place at Northampton after picking Mike Haywood ahead of him and then seeing the academy product score the only try of the game in an impressive performance.

Mallinder said: "Mike Haywood was a big call, to start him above Dylan - but again he showed what he can do.

"Mikey, over the last few years, has played well for us. When we won the Premiership Mikey was a massive part of that and started when we won the final.

"We are absolutely delighted we have got two players like them and when Dylan came on he was excellent as well."

Ben Foden revealed after the game that the Northampton players held their own meeting after the defeat to London Irish last week to analyse what was going wrong after losing four of the first seven Aviva Premiership games.

Now he is hoping the victory over in-form Exeter will kick-start their league campaign as they prepare for the derby at Leicester.

Foden said: "There was a lot of talk about why things were not going right.

"We stripped it back and looked at what Northampton is about; we outwork teams, get up the middle, and we did that for much of the game today.

"Our forwards were outstanding; although we left a few tries out there it is good to start the new year with a win."

Mallinder added: "When you lose to the side at the bottom of the league you need to look at yourselves. We deduced we weren't a million miles away.

"Our defence has been very good, our set-piece has been good, and at London Irish we missed just six tackles, we scored three tries, won all our line-outs and scrums, but lost the game. You just have to look at those little areas like discipline where Irish beat us.

"Exeter are one of the form teams in the Premiership, so to keep them down to a penalty was pleasing."

The victory saw Northampton move to within two points of the play-offs and Exeter head coach Rob Baxter admitted his side were lucky to come away with a losing bonus point.

"I think we stole a point," said Baxter. "We were a bit off today for whatever reason; we were a little tentative early on in the game and never found one way of getting ourselves in the game.

"Our maul never got going because we didn't catch enough line-out ball, it was tippy-tappy stuff.

"Defensively we looked okay, but overall I am pleased to get a losing bonus point because I can't say that performance merited it."

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