Saints have 'high hopes' for Hendy as Dowson hails full-back and Francis

Phil Dowson was full of praise for Piers Francis after the experienced centre skippered Saints to a 46-35 win at Saracens on Saturday.

By Tom Vickers
Sunday, 20th March 2022, 7:00 am
Piers Francis (right) skippered Saints at Saracens
Piers Francis (right) skippered Saints at Saracens

Francis not only etched his name on the scoresheet, but he led superbly before and during the Premiership Rugby Cup pool stage clash.

And Dowson said: "I'd put a special mention for Piers Francis because he led the week.

"There's a lot of young guys and they were calling him the dictator.

"He put his mark down on the week and said 'here's how I want the week to run'.

"With the energy young guys give you, some of the discipline and edge that Piers brings, he was instrumental in getting this scratch team together and giving them real direction.

"Piers was outstanding as a captain."

At the other end of the experience spectrum, 19-year-old full-back George Hendy came off the bench to deliver an eye-catching cameo, scoring twice and setting up another for Francis.

And Dowson said: "George Hendy came in a little bit late this week because he's been with the England Under-20s and every time he touched the ball he seemed to make a line break.

"He does stuff like that in training.

"He's an outstanding character, he's tough, he's not someone who just wants to do the fancy stuff, he gets involved.

"We've got high hopes for George and you saw what he's capable of.

"He must have made about 400 metres on his own."

The win made it two on the spin for Saints ahead of Saturday's crucial Gallagher Premiership trip to London Irish.

And Dowson said: "I don't think it matters which players play, it's a Saints team winning, particularly away to Saracens, who have got a good squad.

"Momentum does matter, vibe within the camp does matter, supporting each other does matter.

"All those things give us the impetus this week, having beaten Wasps the week before, and we'll be full steam ahead.

"There will be guys who played on Saturday who will be involved this week."