Dowson delivers full injury update ahead of Saints' trip to Leicester Tigers

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Saints have been boosted by the return to training of Juarno Augustus and James Grayson ahead of Saturday's East Midlands derby at Leicester Tigers.

But the black, green and gold remain without Sam Matavesi, while Courtney Lawes has been added to the injury list due to the calf strain he sustained last Saturday.

Augustus has been missing due to a hamstring problem picked up against Munster last month, while Grayson has not played since suffering a foot injury in the win against Bristol Bears on October 29

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But Dowson said: "Juarno's good, he's back training, back doing contact this week and making sure we build up that hamstring up to the point where we don't have any issues moving forward.

Courtney Lawes suffered a calf injury against La Rochelle last SaturdayCourtney Lawes suffered a calf injury against La Rochelle last Saturday
Courtney Lawes suffered a calf injury against La Rochelle last Saturday

"Jimmy's back training as well. He's fit, he's doing his running, he's out of his boot and he's started kicking this week so it's a very positive sign for Jimmy."

Matavesi picked up a hamstring problem and came off after just 28 minutes against Harlequins on New Year's Day.

Saints have drafted in Tom Cruse this week to help them bolster their hooker ranks ahead of the clash with Tigers.

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And when asked about Matavesi's current injury status, Dowson said: "He's good, he's full of it as usual and he's working hard, but we don't want to rush any injuries coming back.

"We only had two frontline hookers in Mike Haywood and Robbie Smith available, and with the games we've got coming up, we obviously need more than that.

"Tom Cruse comes in, huge experience, quality player. He's been up at Edinburgh plying his trade since he was at Wasps so he's fitted in this week. He came in Monday and has been flying around so it's good to have someone like that in the locker room."

Lawes would not have played at Leicester this weekend as he had been due to link up with England's Six Nations training squad.

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But he was unable to join that group, which includes David Ribbans, Lewis Ludlam, Alex Mitchell, Fin Smith and Tommy Freeman, because of the injury he picked up 30 minutes into the defeat against La Rochelle last weekend.

"He's got a calf strain, he's been scanned and he's not gone with England this week," Dowson said.

"With strains and what it looks like on the scan compared to what it looks like when he's live is not an exact science.

"Hopefully he won't be too long because it's not a major strain, in my limited medical experience.

"He won't be long, but how long that is I don't know.

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"It's not a major issue but with the time pressures that are coming up with the Six Nations and so on, it obviously makes it tricky.

"I'd be surprised if he's fit to play against Scotland but the only reason I say that is because they don't want to make it worse and the fact that England have said he's going to stay here and recuperate would suggest to me that the first game (against Scotland on February 4) would be one too far.

"After that, I have no idea, but I would be surprised if it's a couple of weeks - I'd think it would be longer than that.

"But if he turns up in an England shirt against Scotland, it would be one of those things Courts could probably do.

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"I do feel for him and unfortunately it's one of those things in rugby that happens.

"I went into the changing room last weekend and he was lying on the bed so I went up to see how he was, and he said 'I thought things were supposed to happen in threes'. I said 'me too'.

"But it seems to be fours and fives at the moment for Courts.

"He's old enough to know his own body and he's extremely frustrated that he can't get a run of games together, that he can't contribute to the Saints, that he can't contribute to Borthers (Steve Borthwick) in that England setup, but he knows it's only a matter of time.

"At some point, he's going to put a run of games together and he'll be absolutely outstanding as he always is."