Saints' demise saddens Corbisiero
Former Northampton Saints prop Alex Corbisiero believes that an inability to develop their style has led to the team's barren spell.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder was sacked following their Champions Cup reversal to the Ospreys, a loss which followed five successive Aviva Premiership defeats.
They are now out of Europe and eight points behind the play-off places in the league, despite previously leading the domestic competition in early October.
Corbisiero departed the Midlanders in 2015 following a spate of injuries but the ex-England loosehead foresaw their struggles coming.
He said: "The cracks have been there for a couple of years but they've just managed to do enough to hang in there for the coaches to keep their jobs.
"Since I left, I have seen very little development or change in the game plan and, even over the years I was there, there was very little adaption from what they believe they needed to do well.
"If you look at the games where they did well, that block of four wins, they just did a lot of the basics well. Their game plan was really simple. They have to win the gain-line, they have to have a good set-piece and they rely on ball-carriers to get them off-loads and to get their attack rolling.
"When they're on the front foot with a full-strength side, they are a hard side to beat if they get those things right. If a team fronts up in defence, disrupts their lineout and their scrum, so they can't get a couple of phases right, they are very, very vulnerable."
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