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Northampton Saints break silence on Lewis Ludlam rumours

By PA
Lewis Ludlam of England applauds the fans following the team's victory during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Bronze Final match between Argentina and England at Stade de France on October 27, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Phil Dowson believes Northampton Saints’ improving defence shone through in a gritty 24-18 victory over Bath.

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Tom Pearson and Alex Coles crossed for Saints early on but Bath trailed by just two points at the break after Thomas du Toit and Tom De Glanville hit back for the away side.

George Hendy scored Saints’ third try and, after a Ben Spencer penalty made it a one-score game, Saints held out under enormous pressure to register a second successive Gallagher Premiership win.

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Amy Rule and Chelsea Bremner reflect on the Black Ferns’ tough WXV campaign

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Amy Rule and Chelsea Bremner reflect on the Black Ferns’ tough WXV campaign

“We probably made it difficult for ourselves but we managed to pull through with some great defence,” said Saints director of rugby Dowson.

“I thought we showed great character. I definitely thought we saw signs during the Premiership Rugby Cup in terms of the engagement with what we’re trying to do defensively.

“We’ve seen it in every game aside from the Bristol one where we went away from what we aspire to be.

“But last week and this week, the game comes down to the defence and that’s credit to the players and (defence coach) Lee Radford.

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“We were frustrated last week with the scrummaging performance but this week we’ve gone pretty hard at it.

“We were without Trevor Davison, who is unfortunately ill, but Paul Hill came in with a brilliant attitude and tremendous energy, which he always brings.

“I thought it was exactly the sort of statement Hilly would want to make in a game like this to show what he’s about.”

Dowson did however, express concern over the future of captain Lewis Ludlam, who has been the subject of interest from Top 14 side Toulon.

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“We are desperate to keep Luds,” said the Saints boss. “He’s club captain and he’s exactly what the club’s all about in terms of someone coming through the Academy and working incredibly hard on his game in getting to the very top level.

“We’re in negotiations at the moment and, as it stands, nothing has been formalised so we’re going to keep pushing on that to keep him here.”

Bath are just a point and a place ahead of their opponents in third, and nearly forced a memorable turnaround at the death but Sam Graham’s breakdown penalty denied them anything more than a losing bonus point.

Boss Johann van Graan stressed that his side have a lot to work on ahead of a crunch derby fixture with Gloucester on Friday.

“This Premiership is so tight,” he said. “We had an opportunity with the last phase of the game and got turned over one metre from the line. Once again it came down to the last play of the match.

“The clear-cut opportunity was the ball we dropped on the right-hand side. Our set piece execution in the 22 is going to be the big work-on this week.”

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Timmyboy 232 days ago

Let him fuck off to France then if he’s been sniffing about Toulon then they can have him. Get the next lad in from the academy and move on.

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