Positive injury news for Saints ahead of Premiership game at Sale

Several of Saints' sidelined stars are set to provide the perfect tonic following the disappointment of two big Champions Cup defeats to Leinster.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 5:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 5:20 pm
Cobus Reinach is ready to square up to compatriot Faf de Klerk on Saturday

The black, green and gold were without a huge number of players for both legs of the December double-header against the Irish giants.

But many injured men are now close to returning, with the likes of Cobus Reinach, Courtney Lawes and David Ribbans among them.

"We've got people who are fresh, we've got some people returning from some shorter-term injuries," said Saints assistant coach Matt Ferguson.

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"This morning was probably the biggest Tuesday morning training session we've had with a Monday night Wandies fixture as well.

"We had what seemed to be an army of players out there this morning at various stages of their return.

"It's always great when you see the Reece Marshalls, the Ribeyes (Ribbans), people like that back on the pitch.

"Selection was a really difficult one to look at this week and it's a sign the squad's not in too bad a place."

So, who could be in line for a comeback in Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium?

Scrum-half Reinach missed last weekend's 50-21 defeat in Dublin due to a knee injury but is now back in training.

And the likes of Lawes (hamstring), Ribbans (back), James Fish (head), Alex Moon (head), Ben Franks (elbow) and Reece Marshall (hamstring) are clearly making good progress.

However, Alex Mitchell (knee), Henry Taylor (thumb) and Owen Franks (thumb) appear likely to miss out again.

Mike Haywood, Teimana Harrison, Rory Hutchinson, Tom Collins and George Furbank were all rested last weekend and should be available to return this weekend.

"Cobus was around this morning and there's an interesting rivalry (with South Africa team-mate Faf de Klerk) he's quite keen to continue this weekend if selected," said Ferguson.

"He was one of a few of our so-called headline players who were out this morning and champing at the bit.

"They bring a bit of freshness because they weren't involved in the travel and the game last weekend.

"Courtney and Dave Ribbans were both out there this morning and you look at people like those two, Moony, Api (Ratuniyarawa) all out there doing their lineout preps this morning and you start thinking that's not a bad group.

"We had Beany (Lewis Bean) jumping in on the back of it and you've got five second rows there.

"Three of those could be involved this weekend one way or another.

"You look at the front row and you've got people like Fishy, Reece and Ben waiting with their hands up, saying 'can I get a scrum please?'.

"There are plenty of people out there and what Boydy (Saints boss Chris Boyd) and the medical team alongside the S&C (strength and conditioning) do really well is they make sure they're not just ready to return to play, they make sure they are ready to perform.

"There's a massive difference there because returning to perform means when people get their chance to play, they're able to play at their best ability.

"You can't really afford to carry too many 70 per centers in these fixtures we have at the moment.

"We've got a few people who are ready to return and if we feel they're going to add to us, they'll return this weekend."