Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder hailed the impact of the younger players in his side after their one-point win over Exeter.
Stephen Myler’s late withdrawal before kick-off meant a reshuffle in Northampton’s backline, with Harry Mallinder, 20, moving to fly-half and Rory Hutchinson, also 20, promoted to inside centre.
Hutchinson went on to score Northampton’s second try against the Chiefs, with the younger Mallinder slotting the winning penalty for a 20-19 victory three minutes from time.
Mallinder senior was thrilled to see the likes of his son Harry and also Hutchinson deliver for the side, as Northampton ended a two-match losing run.
“We have got a few experienced players out at the moment, particularly in that midfield and half-back. Lee Dickson, Stephen Myler, JJ Hanrahan, Luther Burrell; lots of experienced players who have played a lot of rugby not in the team,” Mallinder told the Northampton website.
“But we’re very, very fortunate that we’ve got these players coming through and you’ve got to trust them sometimes.
“I was delighted with all three of the younger guys’ performances.”
Mallinder was also delighted to see his side overcome a rocky opening period to score an excellent try at Franklin’s Gardens.
“It was a worrying time in those first few minutes,” he added.
“But fortunately we scored a good team try, got back up there and then scored an absolutely outstanding try. A break by George North and finished with Nic Groom to Rory Hutchinson. It was very, very pleasing.”