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George Furbank double sees determined Northampton dismiss Toulon

By PA
Tom Seabrook with the ball in hand for the Northampton Saints. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Northampton defied a succession of injuries and a determined Toulon to register a 22-19 Investec Champions Cup victory at Franklin’s Gardens.

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Saints led for most of the match until their former second-row David Ribbans, who departed the east Midlands at the end of last season, went over in the 66th minute to give the Top 14’s second-placed side the lead.

Wings Tom Seabrook and George Hendy had been lost to knee problems in each half and shortly after the break there was also the worrying sight of scrum-half Fin Smith receiving treatment.

To compound an alarming night on the injury front, Hendy’s replacement Ollie Sleightholme limped off as well.

Points Flow Chart

Northampton win +3
Time in lead
63
Mins in lead
13
79%
% Of Game In Lead
16%
99%
Possession Last 10 min
1%
7
Points Last 10 min
0

But the pendulum swung when Toulon saw Matteo le Corvec and Jeremy Sinzelle sin-binned in the same passage of play, leaving them to complete the last five minutes with only 13 men.

It proved too big a challenge as Northampton broke through soon after when replacement lock Tom Lockett fell over the line in the right corner with Smith converting.

Courtney Lawes was outstanding for the home side as they made it two from two in this season’s Champions Cup, lifting the record of Gallagher Premiership clubs to eight wins in nine games.

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Lawes, the man of the match, made several important contributions and was at his best in defence when Toulon’s fightback gathered momentum.

Full-back George Furbank finished with two tries, showing his strength for the second score.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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