'Loads of positivity' at Saints as key men close in on comeback from injury

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Phil Dowson says there is ‘loads of positivity’ at Saints as some key players are now back in training following injury.

Dowson has confirmed that Juarno Augustus, Manny Iyogun and summer signing Burger Odendaal have been able to train this week.

Augustus has only been able to make one appearance so far this season having suffered a bicep injury.

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Iyogun has only played twice due to a groin problem, while Odendaal has yet to make his Saints debut due to a hamstring issue.

Juarno Augustus (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Juarno Augustus (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Juarno Augustus (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

But Augustus was pictured in training this week, and when asked about that, Dowson said: “It's brilliant, and it's the same with anyone because Manny's come back in and trained this week, Burger Odendaal has trained this week, Hutch (Rory Hutchinson) isn't a million miles away, Colesy's (Alex Coles) knee isn't as bad as first thought considering how it looked so there's loads of positivity around those guys coming in.

"Clearly there's guys going the other way as well so we're trying to put our arm around James Ramm and Alex Waller around the injuries they've suffered and trying to get them back fighting fit as soon as possible.”

Ramm has suffered a serious knee injury, while Waller was forced off during the first half of the 28-19 win at Glasgow Warriors last Friday after Scott Cummings accidentally landed on him at a lineout.

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Dowson explained: "Alex has got a problem with his neck so he's still speaking to the specialist, checking scans and making sure there's nothing inherently wrong with it and that he can just maintain, get through the pain and see how quickly he can get back playing.”

Waller’s withdrawal at Scotstoun Stadium opened the door for Tarek Haffar to make his Saints debut, and the former London Irish loosehead prop impressed.

"He made his debut for 60 minutes, which is great considering he hasn't played a lot of rugby since he got here,” Dowson said.

"We gave him a run-out for Leicester Lions the week before just to get him back into some collisions and some scrummaging.

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"I think you can see the quality he has from a physical point of view.

"Clearly he's not spent tonnes of time within our system both in defence and attack so he's only going to get better.

"We're excited about the way he applies himself and the way he can play the game.”