'Soft' accusation from Jim Mallinder provoked Northampton's win over Leicester

Luther Burrell scored a try in Northampton's victory over Leicester
Luther Burrell scored a try in Northampton's victory over Leicester

Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell revealed that the accusation of becoming 'soft' from rugby director Jim Mallinder provoked them to put a strong performance against Leicester Tigers.

The Saints suffered a 55-24 defeat in the opening game of the season against Saracens which did not go well with Mallinder, who brutally assessed his team's performance.

However, the team benefitted from the criticism as Burrell, Dylan Hartley and Tom Collins scored tries in Northampton's 24-11 win over Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens last weekend. It was only their third win over the Welford Road unit in their last 20 encounters as Northampton opened their account this season.

"We all know last week wasn't good enough by our own standards. It has been a tough week because quite frankly we got embarrassed by Saracens," Burrell said.

"When you come in on Monday morning and your coaches are fuming with you and calling you soft, ultimately as a player you have got to react.

"You don't want to upset your director of rugby, you don't want to be called soft. If you are soft in this game, that (the Saracens defeat) happens on a weekly basis.

"We had to have a reaction and what a game to put it right - Leicester at home, a local derby. You look for that game at the start of every season, so it was very positive from our side.

"Leicester are a great side but we did not let them into the game. We had to step up our defence because we were soft last week. I think ultimately that's what came through and it got us the win.

"We stepped up against Leicester, but we can't get carried away. We are two games in but in a positive place now.

"We will quickly move on to Bath because they are looking pretty good this season."

Northampton are set to host Bath next at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

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