Mallinder: ‘White exit won’t destabilise Montpellier’

Date published: September 28 2016

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder does not believe that Jake White’s eventual departure from Montpellier will damage the club’s chances in Europe.

Mallinder was speaking at the Premiership launch for the Champions Cup at The Stoop hours after Montpellier had confirmed that White would depart at the end of the season, to be replaced by current Scotland boss Vern Cotter.

White guided Montpellier to a Challenge Cup title win over Harlequins earlier this year.

Asked if the early announcement of White’s exit could prove to be destabilising for the Top 14 giants, Mallinder said: “Sometimes it can have the opposite effect.

“A lot of these coaches come and go and are often only there for two or three seasons, so I think that is expected.

“The players there will be determined to add more silverware on top of what they picked up last season, and I don’t think it will affect their preparations.

“They are all professionals who want success.”

Northampton will open their Champions Cup account at home to Montpellier on October 15, and Mallinder had a preview of what to expect during Saints’ pre-season tour to France.

“We watched one of their pre-season games live and it was interesting to get a taste of seeing them in action,” Mallinder explained.

“They have a massive pack; lots of South Africans, lots of big lads in there. Very, very physical.

“You sometimes know what is coming but it can be hard to stop. So it is a big challenge, but one we will look forward to.”

Despite back-to-back defeats to Saracens and Wasps in the Premiership, Northampton performed well in both clashes, and Mallinder believes that Northampton have enough talent to push the top sides in Europe.

“I think we have shown over the last few weeks that we can compete with the best teams, and Wasps and Saracens are two of the best in Europe at the moment.

“On our day we can compete with them and with a little bit more accuracy and a little bit more luck, we can beat everybody.”