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  1. ITV Report

Mallinder's miracle: We talk to the man behind Northampton Saints' remarkable rise

Jim Mallinder. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Twelve months on from their Twickenham heartbreak, Northampton Saints will finally get a shot at redemption tomorrow when they return for a second successive Aviva Premiership final.

Leicester Tigers lifted the trophy last season. Credit: PA

Saints had to watch bitter rivals Leicester Tigers lift the trophy in last year's showpiece, but they will be hoping to use that disappointment to achieve a better result this time out.

Northampton's route to this year's final has once again been masterminded by Director of rugby Jim Mallinder, and it's fair to say he's made quite an impact since taking over in 2007.

Jim Mallinder shares a joke with ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Saturday's showdown with Saracens will be their eighth appearance in major finals during his time at the helm.

This season hasn't been bad either, with the Amlin Challenge Cup already in the bag and Northampton finishing the Premiership campaign as the leading try scorers.

Northampton Saints have already won the Amlin Challenge Cup this season. Credit: PA

We caught up with Mallinder this week, and got him to tell us a bit about himself...

Click below to hear our chat with Jim Mallinder

"I'm fair, hard at the right times, but I also like a little bit of fun and enjoyment at the right times."

– Jim Mallinder, Northampton Saints Director of rugby

As the Saints gear up for the big match at the home of English rugby, they were handed a boost today with skipper Dylan Hartley named among the replacements following his recovery from a shoulder injury.

Dylan Hartley will return to the squad this weekend. Credit: PA

As for the starting XV, there are two changes, with Salesi Ma'afu returning in the forwards after serving a ban for hitting Leicester's Tom Youngs in the semi-final.

Number nine Kahn Fotuali'i replaces Lee Dickson at scrum half.