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Amlin Challenge Cup
Mallinder hails 'top-drawer' Myler
ESPN Staff
May 23, 2014
Northampton's Stephen Myler spins the ball out, Bath Rugby v Northampton Saints, Amlin Challenge Cup Final, Cardiff Arms Park, May 23, 2014
Stephen Myler was singled out by Jim Mallinder post-match © Getty Images
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Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder hailed Stephen Myler's match-winning performance in the wake of their Amlin Challenge Cup final victory over Bath.

Myler slotted 20 points to help Northampton to their 30-16 win at the Arms Park on Friday evening. "You need a performance like that in big games, just somebody who can keep their head to make really good decisions, not just kicking the goals," Mallinder said. "It was top-drawer by Stephen on a night when all of our leaders stepped up.

"We had a game-plan that we wanted to move their front-five around the field. They were very physical, but we knew if we kept playing, then the opportunities would come. Stephen kicked his goals - you have got to take your points in games like this. Unfortunately for George Ford, he missed a few at a crucial time.

"We know we are improving as a team. We are a better team than what we were last year. We are pleased with the way things are going."

Northampton trailed 13-6 at half-time after George Ford kicked two penalties and converted wing Anthony Watson's try, but they then recovered superbly despite losing prop Alex Corbisiero to the sin-bin as Bath were sunk. Match-winner Myler said: "You are not just going to turn up and get given the trophy.

"You have got to go out and earn it and the forwards have been outstanding all season for us. They've given us that platform to play from. We regrouped at half-time, came up with a plan and I am proud of the lads that we stuck to that plan."

Bath head coach Mike Ford accepted that his team had not taken their chances. "We had to take our opportunities when they were on offer, and we missed a couple. Myler picked us off," Ford said. "Maybe at a crucial time the inner belief you get from winning big games and trophies just wasn't quite there because we have got no recent history of that.

"We are proud of what we have done this season. We are not going to change our philosophy. The pack is one of the best in the league, if not the best, and we have got a massively exciting back-line. We don't want anyone to feel sorry for us. We were good enough to get in the top four [in the Aviva Premiership] and we were good enough to win tonight. I think the game slipped away from us.

"We have won more than 75% of our games this season, and we have played some entertaining football. Next season we will come back stronger."

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