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Hendy starts after match-winning heroics as Saints change 3 for QF

By Josh Raisey
George Hendy of Northampton Saints celebrates with team mate Temo Mayanavanua after their victory during the Investec Champions Cup Round Of 16 match between Northampton Saints and Munster Rugby at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on April 07, 2024 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints’ 21-year-old winger George Hendy is set to start in the Investec Champions Cup quarter-final against the Bulls after his heroics against Munster last week.

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Hendy scored two tries after coming on from the bench last week, including one epic solo effort, to seal the win for the Gallagher Premiership leaders in the round of 16, and has been promoted to the starting XV by director of rugby Phil Dowson for the clash at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

He will take the No14 shirt from England wing Tommy Freeman, who will shift in-field to outside centre, with Fraser Dingwall moving to inside centre to cover for the unavailable Burger Odendaal.

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The only other change in the backline will see England scrum-half Alex Mitchell start this week with Tom James dropping to the bench.

Dowson has made one change in the pack, with England flanker Lewis Ludlam and No8 Juarno Augustus swapping places.

Fixture
Investec Champions Cup
Northampton
59 - 22
Full-time
Bulls
All Stats and Data

Ludlam will join fellow England international George Furbank on the bench, who is in line to make his first appearance since injuring himself in the final match of the Guinness Six Nations against France in March.

This could be Ludlam’s last ever European game for Northampton should they lose, with a move to Toulon agreed for next season.

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Courtney Lawes finds himself in the same position as Ludlam, although their chances of progressing were boosted significantly after the Bulls made 13 changes from the team that beat Lyon 59-19 last week, resting almost all of their frontline players.

Northampton Saints XV
15 James Ramm
14 George Hendy
13 Tommy Freeman
12 Fraser Dingwall
11 Ollie Sleightholme
10 Fin Smith
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Curtis Langdon
3 Trevor Davison
4 Alex Moon
5 Alex Coles
6 Courtney Lawes (c)
7 Sam Graham
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements
16 Sam Matavesi
17 Alex Waller
18 Paul Hill
19 Temo Mayanavanua
20 Angus Scott-Young
21 Lewis Ludlam
22 Tom James
23 George Furbank

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J
Jon 23 hours 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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