'Playing the best rugby of his career' - Dowson salutes Furbank after full-back signs new Saints deal

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Phil Dowson says George Furbank is currently playing the best rugby of his career.

Furbank's new Saints deal was announced on Thursday afternoon, providing another boost for the black, green and gold as they build for next season.

The 27-year-old is now a hugely important figure at Saints, having skippered the side on nine occasions, securing victories in all of those matches.

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He has made 110 appearances in his seven seasons at the club, while also representing England.

George Furbank (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)George Furbank (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
George Furbank (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Furbank announced himself with a try-scoring debut against Exeter Chiefs in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2017, and would make 18 appearances in a breakthrough campaign the following season, when he helped Saints to reach the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals and lift the Premiership Rugby Cup at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

He cemented his place in Saints’ starting line-up in 2019/20, with his stellar performances also putting the full-back on the international radar, leading to a call-up to England’s senior squad and a Test debut against France in the 2020 Six Nations.

Furbank has since added a further five England caps to his tally.

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He brought up a century of Saints appearances earlier this season, hitting the milestone as he led the side out against Bath Rugby in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

And Furbank has gone from strength to strength during the current campaign, helping Saints to top the Premiership and their Investec Champions Cup pool at the end of 2023.

“Furbs is playing the best rugby of his career at the moment,” said Saints boss Dowson.

“He has a special knack of being able to create space for other people, whether he’s at full-back or fly-half.

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“He’s always had tonnes of ability on the ball – he’s one of those annoying sportsmen who’s brilliant at everything he tries – but this year he’s added a real physicality and edge to his game.

“George is also becoming a fantastic leader, driving accountability throughout the group, and has stood in as captain extremely well when Lewis Ludlam has been unavailable through injury this season.

“He’s brilliant at connecting the group, pushing everyone in the right direction, as well as challenging and communicating with the coaches too.

“He’s in a real purple patch of form at the moment, and I know he’s still got ambitions to play more international rugby with England.

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"The way he’s playing, and the fact that he covers two of rugby’s integral positions, means that he’ll always be there or thereabouts when it comes to international selection.

“Last summer, he came back in for pre-season really driven, full of maturity, and desperate to kick on. You can see all that now in how well he’s playing, so we’re thrilled to keep him here with us in Northampton.”