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George Hendy: 'Tom James is not a happy man with me at the moment'

By Liam Heagney
George Hendy after full-time last Saturday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Gallagher Premiership final player of the match George Hendy has reflected on his role in creating the decisive match-winning try for Alex Mitchell, chuckling that their Northampton teammate Tom James isn’t happy after his fellow sub refused to give him the 73rd minute pass.

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Saints were trailing 18-21 when Hendy, who had come on for Burger Odendaal and was soon at fault for the game-levelling Bath try scored by Will Muir, was just one step inside the opposition half and clasping a pass from George Furbank, who had switched into out-half after the cramped Fin Smith limped off just minutes before.

Other than scoring two tries in six minutes immediately after Beno Obano was red carded in the 22nd minute of the final, Northampton had struggled to make use of their numerical advantage and nothing looked on when Hendy took Furbank’s pass.

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However, his arcing run secured him the momentum to squeeze past Ollie Lawrence and he then also immediately powered past Muir in the contact. Matt Gallagher was the next Bath defender that Hendy encountered.

He could have drawn the tackle of Gallagher and given a pass to his right which would have given fellow replacement Tom James, who had come on for Smith, a clear run to the line from the 22. Hendy, though, ignored James on his outside and he instead stepped inside to leave Gallagher becoming the third Bath player he left falling to the floor.

It was Josh Bayliss who eventually grabbed the Saints sub short of the line but he heard Mitchell screaming and he readjusted his grip on the ball when falling so that he could make a two-handed offload and provide the perfect assist for the scrum-half to score the converted try that netted their 25-21 win.

Hendy went on to finish the game by ripping Orlando Bailey of the final Bath possession and three days into the celebrations sparked by the final whistle, he phoned into The Rugby Pod to provide an update on how things were going – he still had his ski goggles on as well as his match kit!

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“Absolutely loving it… still in the same kit that I wore on the day. The amount of people that turned up was mind blowing. All us younger lads were going, ‘We have never seen Northampton like that’ so it was pretty special to be part of that,” he said about Sunday’s open-top bus parade through the town with the trophy.

“I’m currently in a pub called the Saracens Head with all the academy boys trying to work out where we are going to go on holiday and where we are going to fly from, we still haven’t booked anything.

“All of the young lads back home at the club were like, ‘You need to give that (man of the match) medal to Sam Underhill. But honestly, as soon as the final whistle went, I didn’t know what to think. I literally had the full range of emotions in my head.

“You sit there on the pitch and see all the lads running off and celebrating and I was just sat there and didn’t really know what to think of it. Whether that is part of the way I am, pretty laidback in the way I deal with things, but seeing other lads going absolutely mental was pretty special and then it’s hard not to join in.”

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Asked about his creation of the Mitchell try and the pass snub he gave to James, Hendy explained: “He told me about four or five times after the game that I should have passed him the ball and he will never forgive me. I said, ‘So next season, even if I’m under the posts, I have to pass you the ball?’ And he was like, ‘100 per cent’.

“He we like, ‘If you don’t pass to me every single ball that I am there for we’re no longer friends’. I was like, ‘Alright, okay, I see how it is’.

“The crowd at Twickenham was just unbelievable, you can barely hear yourself think at times like that, so when I was carrying I was just purely thinking how far can I get in that moment and then as I was being tackled, I saw Alex Mitchell just screaming for it.

“I thought if he is screaming for it he is definitely one of those players who can go and finish it, so I just tried my best to get the ball to him – but yeah, Tom James is not a happy man with me at the moment.”

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1 Comment
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Steve 11 days ago

George Hendy is a very special talent. Saints have s very good record of developing Acadamy players into premiership and international stars.

Of the Saints representatives in the current England squad, only Fin Smith did not come through the Saints Acadamy.

The biggest problem is that he may need to displace one of his team mates.

He should probably adopt the tag line from a former communications company:

The future is bright, the future is Orange Hair.

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