Boss Boyd gives injury update ahead of Saints' big showdown with Leinster

George Furbank has been added to Saints' injury list ahead of Saturday's Champions Cup clash with Leinster at Franklin's Gardens.

By Tom Vickers
Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 3:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 3:53 pm
George Furbank is set to miss Saturday's game against Leinster
George Furbank is set to miss Saturday's game against Leinster

The full-back was one of the stars of the show in the 36-13 win against Leicester Tigers last weekend, but he had to come off the field for two separate head injury assessments.

Ahsee Tuala was the man who replaced him on both occasions and the Samoan now looks set to start this weekend.

James Grayson is likely to drop to the bench as Dan Biggar appears to be recovering well from the foot injury that ruled him out as the last minute last weekend.

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"George Furbank took another knock on his head last weekend and if you remember he had a nasty collision in the Harlequins game last season (in April) where he knocked himself out completely," Saints boss Chris Boyd explained.

"He hasn't had any recurring issues from that but he did take a blow last weekend and he's our 10 cover when Dan plays so in the absence of George - I will give him some weeks off to make sure there are no issues - Jimmy Grayson will probably come onto the bench."

On Biggar, Boyd said: "Dan Biggar has a niggly foot and he probably could have played last Saturday but couldn't kick.

"We just have a bit of a policy that we try not to push our guys too hard.

"He didn't train today but there's no reason why he won't play on Saturday."

Saints are set to remain without Courtney Lawes and Owen Franks, who were both named in the starting line-up last weekend but had to withdraw.

"Courtney had a little hamstring strain before we went to Benetton so we didn't take him there," Boyd said.

"It was fine the front end of last week and then he re-tweaked it at training on Thursday and had it scanned on Friday night or Saturday morning.

"He's got a grade one hamstring tear and he won't play this weekend.

"He might be back the weekend after - he's 50/50 for Leinster away."

"Owen has gone home to New Zealand for Richie Mo'unga's wedding, which was pre-arranged at the time we contracted him anyway.

"But he has a broken thumb and that'll be three or four weeks, I'd imagine."

Harry Mallinder (knee), Alex Mitchell (knee), Henry Taylor (thumb), James Fish (head) and Reece Marshall (hamstring) are all out, while David Ribbans (back) and Ben Franks (elbow) are doubtful.

Piers Francis is set to be fit though as he has recovered from a shoulder problem.

Saints have moved to bolster their ranks at hooker in the absence of Fish and Marshall, signing Fiji World Cup forward Sam Matavesi from Cornish Pirates.

And Boyd explained how the move came about.

"We've had six hookers on our roster and I've been under pressure from the other coaches that we've been sailing a bit close to the wind because we've only had two fit hookers for the last three or four weeks," Boyd said.

"We got one young fella who is a converted prop to a hooker in the Academy (Jack Hughes) but it just puts too much pressure on.

"A good friend of mine, Alan Muir, is the scrum coach for the Fiji national side and he was up here for the Barbarians game and recommended Sam to us.

"We had a discussion with Cornish Pirates, came to an arrangement with them and it gives us really good cover.

"He trained with us this morning and he's ready to go.

"Reece Marshall still hasn't recovered from the hamstring he tore off the bone at Exeter last season and James Fish is having some ongoing concussion issues so I'm not sure how long he's going to be (out for).

"We just needed to plug the hole."