Heineken Cup - Game of the Week
Mallinder accepts Saints' defeat
October 16, 2009
Northampton flanker Phil Dowson is smashed by the Perpignan defence, Perpignan v Northampton, Heineken Cup, Stade Aime Giral, October 16, 2009
The Saints were stopped in their tracks by Perpignan © Getty Images

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder admitted that his side lost to a better team as Perpignan got their Heineken Cup campaign underway at the Stade Aime Giral.

The home side's fullback, Jerome Porical, slotted 19 points from the kicking tee as the Saints were out-muscled in the scrum.

"We know where we stand," he said. "Perpignan are one of the best sides in Europe, particularly at home. You have got to play at your real best to win out here and we didn't do that. We didn't play to the best of our ability and deserved to come second.

"We scored two tries and showed that if we play to our best we can win at places like this. We'll look at the video on Monday and we'll see that there were also things we did wrong and we can correct those."

It was the mounting penalty count that hurt Saints as Porical's three late kicks denied them any chance of a bonus point.

"They came at us hard, particularly in the scrum, but we kept going at that. We improved and probably got on top in the second half. At the breakdown we didn't get a lot of good ball. That was where the game was won by them.

"We were really disappointed to concede that try just before half-time. We also made a few mistakes, particularly under pressure.

"It was really frustrating and I thought at around 55 to 60 minutes we could get back into the game. We scored a good try and had quite a lot of possession.We didn't have much luck really and the referee didn't help us. They slowed the ball down a lot, we didn't get the quick ball we like to get and you've got to take opportunities at a place like this. Tonight we didn't."

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