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Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Monday, 21 February 2011

Northampton Saints' Jim Mallinder to assess recruitment

Jim Mallinder
Mallinder's Saints have now lost their last four Premiership encounters

Northampton Saints director Jim Mallinder says they are assessing their recruitment policy for next season.

Saints have seen a host of players leave for international duty during the Six Nations, and have lost three matches out of four during that time.

Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton: "It's hard because you can't account for how many you're going to lose at the start of the season.

"It's something we'll look at in our recruitment and get right next year."

Saints were at full strength when they were beaten by Harlequins and Leicester Tigers in the Premiership in January.

But since then captain Dylan Hartley, winger Chris Ashton, full-back Ben Foden and flanker Tom Wood have been called up to the England squad for the Six Nations.

We've had a couple of key injuries and a lot of players away

Saints director Jim Mallinder

Back row Phil Dowson has been training with England, although he has been released back to the club for matches.

Centre Joe Ansbro is with the Scotland squad for the Six Nations, whilst Christian Day and fly-half Stephen Myler represented England Saxons against Italy A and Ireland A.

In addition England lock Courtney Lawes and first-choice scrum-half Lee Dickson are out through injury.

The Saints' 38-24 victory over Leeds Carnegie in the LV= Cup came after defeat to London Irish in the same competition.

In the Premiership they were beaten by Saracens at Franklin's Gardens and away to Bath on Saturday and have slipped from the top of the table, at the start of the year, to fourth.

But Mallinder remains convinced that his side have the strength in depth to turn their defeats around.

"I'm happy with the squad and we've still got some good players," he said.

"We've had a couple of key injuries and a lot of players away. We're confident we'll stick together, work hard and come out of it."

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see also
Bath 38-8 Northampton
19 Feb 11 |  English
England call up Dowson and Wood
24 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Lawes 'could play in Six Nations'
12 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union

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