Dowson delivers Furbank injury update as Saints boss welcomes tough selection decisions

Phil Dowson says George Furbank has returned to training this week after opting not to risk the full-back for Saints' clash with Exeter Chiefs last Sunday.
George Furbank (photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)George Furbank (photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)
George Furbank (photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Furbank picked up a knock in the build-up to the game at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens and was not named in the 23.

Instead, George Hendy wore the 15 shirt and delivered another impressive display in a superb bonus-point 34-19 Gallagher Premiership success.

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Saints could now have the ability to select Furbank for Saturday's derby-day battle with Leicester Tigers at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

"He wasn't quite ready for last weekend's game," Dowson said at Tuesday's media session.

"It was a soft tissue injury so we didn't want to push that.

"He's trained today so he's looking well and we'll see how he goes with a slightly tougher day tomorrow."

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Dowson has numerous selection decisions to make as his squad has shown its strength in recent weeks.

James Ramm missed the clash with Exeter due to illness but Rory Hutchinson stepped up and impressed at centre with Tommy Freeman switching to the wing and starring once again.

Sam Matavesi, Alex Coles and Tom Pearson all made a big impact from the bench, but the players they replaced, Curtis Langdon, Chunya Munga and Courtney Lawes, had all put in big performances.

Lewis Ludlam was rested last week but Sam Graham once again shone at No.8, though he was forced off late on.

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Dowson has plenty of options at tighthead, with Paul Hill, Trevor Davison and Elliot Millar Mills all vying for a start, while Tom James and Alex Mitchell have both impressed at scrum-half.

"We need that (competition) with the season structure," Dowson said.

"We need to rotate, we need to manage people, we need to make sure we're in physically as robust a shape as we can be.

"We're in a very fortunate position.

"James Ramm drops out with illness and Ollie Sleightholme comes in on the bench, which is a very fortunate position to be in.

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"There have been times where we've picked what's available but we've been getting guys back from injury, getting guys really hungry, we've got guys playing well on loan so it's a good environment at the moment.

"Those selection headaches are an absolute godsend."