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Northampton anxiously await update as Lewis Ludlam is helped from field

By PA
Lewis Ludlam takes a knee during the Northampton Saints match. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Northampton director of rugby Phil Dowson was left concerned by an injury to captain Lewis Ludlam during his side’s dramatic 36-33 victory over Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership.

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Ludlam had to be helped from the field towards the end of the first half at Franklin’s Gardens in what was the England back-rower’s third appearance since returning from the Rugby World Cup.

It was one of the reasons why Dowson was left with mixed feelings following a match where Northampton struggled to shake Quins off in a bizarre contest featuring five tries for both sides.

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Dowson said: “It doesn’t look amazing. I think it’s his ankle, certainly lower limb, I don’t actually know what they’ve found.

“He’s in a (protective) boot and he’ll get scanned as quickly as possible.

“He’s been brilliant since coming back from the World Cup, both from a playing point of view and a leadership point of view, so hopefully we can turn him around.”

On his side holding out for victory, Dowson added: “At the end there you’ve given away a bonus point because you haven’t managed to clear your lines efficiently, so there’s so much to work on.

“What I’m always delighted with and pleased with is the attitude of the group to keep fighting, to find a way, to be frustrated from last week and apply themselves during the week.

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“I thought that was a very positive aspect of the game.”

Harlequins led through tries from Cadan Murley and Jack Walker to cancel out Ollie Sleightholme’s effort for Saints, who were then gifted scores for Ludlam and Alex Mitchell to go 21-12 ahead at half-time.

Alex Coles and Sleightholme then struck in the second half for Saints, who just about held off Quins as they claimed two bonus points thanks to tries from George Hammond, Will Evans and Nathan Jibulu.

Harlequins coaching co-ordinator Danny Wilson said: “Scoring 33 points, five tries, away from home, you’d like to think you’ll come out with a win.

“It’s kind of hard to see past that at the moment, but it’s a game where we handed Northampton 14 points, literally handed them with one scrum exit, one line-out exit where the ball is off the floor and into their hands very close to our own line.

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“That’s 14 points they haven’t had to work for, that’s probably the most frustrating thing and the key moment of the game.

“We’ve had to work very hard for our tries, we scored good tries and I think we’ll look back on it and it will be a missed opportunity.

“However, as the minimum we’re proud that we played more like us than we did last week (against Saracens) and looked like Harlequins again this week.”

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Red and White Dynamight 3 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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