Mallinder praises ruthless Saints

Samu Manoa scored a quick-fire hat-trick for Northampton, Northampton Saints v Treviso, European Champions Cup, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, December 13, 2014 Getty Images

Jim Mallinder was full of praise for his Northampton Saints side after they put in an outstanding performance in romping to a record 67-0 win over Treviso at Franklin's Gardens.

Saints are right on course to reach the quarter-finals of the competition and sit top of their pool after fine bonus-point wins over Treviso over the last fortnight.

On Saturday, Sale crossed for 11 tries, including hat-tricks for Samu Manoa and Ken Pisi. Mallinder was delighted with a clinical performance that leaves them requiring just victory in their final two games to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition.

"We talked about being clinical and ruthless, and I was pleased with the whole 80 minutes," Saints director of rugby Mallinder said. "We got our set-piece right, we tackled well and scored some cracking tries. In the past, we have had Ulster and Leinster as our back-to-back European games, which is really difficult. This time, we have been able to swap our team over a little bit and freshen a few players up."

George North, who scored Saints second try, left the field early in the second half with a dead leg but Mallinder played down fears of greater injury and praised the efforts of man of the match James Wilson.

"George had a dead leg, he just got a bang on his quad. He should be fine," Mallinder said.

"To have someone as versatile as him (Wilson) is unbelievable. He started at full-back, moved to the wing and then fly-half, and he looked very comfortable.

"He played well, but there were some other magnificent performances as well. We didn't get too carried away, we didn't play sevens rugby, we kept our shape and discipline. It was a good professional performance."