Carlos Spencer is probably breathing a sigh of relief today after Jim Mallinder, his director of rugby at Northampton, rubbished reports that the former All Black first five was on the way out to make way for Danny Cipriani.
Jenni Rutherford writes for RugbyHeaven that an article last week reported that the England and London Wasps player, who is out of contract next year, was in negotiations with Northampton which would mean the Spencer would be surplus to requirements.
However, Mallinder told the Northants Evening Telegraph that the reports were damaging to his players and backed Spencer, who has been passed over in recent games for the in-form Stephen Myler.
“There are certain journalists and certain papers that like to speculate, and agents who like to stir and it does stir because it causes problems with what we have got,” Mallinder said.
“Northampton have been noted as an easy prey to say players are going there. Our club is always used it seems.
“I am actually delighted with our fly-halves. I think we have got two cracking fly-halves, so why would I want to talk to Danny Cipriani? I wouldn’t know.
“And secondly even if I did, it is illegal to approach him anyway, because it is before Christmas and you can’t speak to players. I don’t quite know where the story came from, but it is a load of rubbish.”
Spencer returned for Northampton’s 28-28 draw with Bath, the first-five missing a match-winning dropped goal while Myler, playing at fullback, continued to impress, landing a 50-metre attempt to force a share of the spoils with the English Premiership leaders .
“The fly-halves we have got both offer something different,” Mallinder said.
“Carlos played well and Stephen Myler dropped in at fullback and his drop goal and solid play around the fieldwas excellent. We have got some good players there.
“Carlos plays a different game to Stephen, he takes the ball to the line and gets other players involved. We are just delighted at the club that we have two very good fly-halves.”
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal is confident that the struggling French Championship club will not be relegated from the Top 14 after they broke a five-match losing streak last weekend.
The Tana Umaga-coached side defeated Biarritz 10-5 to stem the bleeding in the south of France. Former Blues fullback Orene Ai’i was his reliable best, scoring a try, while Tusi Pisi, the former Crusaders and North Harbour first five, added a penalty. The result puts the side three points clear of the relegation zone in 11th place.
“Everything has not been easy,” Boudjellal said. “After tonight, Toulon will not be relegation. This proves that we will fight to the end.”
Toulouse took sole possession of the top of the French Championship table after Byron Kelleher scored a late try to hand the Heineken Cup finalist an 18-12 victory over Bourgoin. While the former All Black halfback had a memorable game in his first full season with the club, Tim Cowley, the back-row forward, who played for North Harbour in the 2002 NPC, was stretchered from the field midway through the first half.Tweet