Mallinder clinches play-off victory for Northampton
Harry Mallinder proved the difference as Northampton Saints downed Connacht 21-15 in the European Champions Cup play-off semi-final at Franklin Gardens.
Mallinder scored the game’s first try after just 57 seconds and finished with a tally of 16 points as Northampton set up a meeting with European Challenge Cup winners Stade Francais on Friday.
The result means Pat Lam departs for Bristol having failed to secure Connacht a place in the premier continental competition after their eighth-place finish in Pro12.
A pair of Mallinder penalties helped give Saints a three-point lead at the interval, and Nic Groom darted over to extend their advantage in the 57th minute.
Dave Heffernan kept Connacht’s hopes alive with a quick response, but Mallinder split the posts once more and Northampton saw out the win despite Jamie Gibson being shown a yellow card in the closing stages.
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) May 20, 2017
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