Jim Mallinder hails Northampton Saints ‘fairtytale’

Alex Waller touched down under the posts in the final minute of extra time as Northampton claimed their first Premiership title with a 24-20 victory, adding to the European Challenge Cup they won in Cardiff last Friday.

Charlie Hodgson missed a crucial conversion in the closing stages of normal time that would have put Saracens in the driving seat heading into the final five minutes at Twickenham, and Mallinder expressed his delight at seeing his side come back to punish that error.

“To finish like that, I suppose it’s fairytales,” he told BBC Radio Five Live . “It’s really, really nice to finish on the winning side.

“We showed similar sort of character in the semi-final against Leicester (21-20 win), down but never short of belief.

“We’ll see what it means when we get back (to Northampton) tonight. Hopefully we can have a real celebration over the weekend.”

Northampton were boosted by the return of Dylan Hartley after two months out with a shoulder injury, and the captain was overjoyed to end a difficult week of recovery with the title.

“I haven’t slept all week and now a finish like that, I don’t think I’ve got any hairs or fingernails left,” he said. “It means everything to win it.

“We were so close last year. I’m proud to do it, not just for the town, but for all these special people here.

“I’m so proud of the squad.”

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