Northampton Saints’ scrum coach has given a brilliant explanation as to why they decided to convert former No.8 Manny Iyogun into a loosehead.

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After a raft of frontrow injuries, Iyogun became Saints’ only fit and available loosehead option for the Sandy Park match with Exeter Chiefs. Francois van Wyk, Alex Waller, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Nick Auterac had all been ruled out of the game through injuries of varying severity.

Iyogun – who’s just nineteen and still in the process of transitioning to a loosehead – was effectively thrown in the deep end. Iyogun made Champions Cup debut, with Gloucester loanee Alex Seville coming straight onto the bench to provide cover for the men in Black, Green and Gold.

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During the game, BT Sport asked Northampton Saints scrum coach Matt Ferguson what he had identified in Iyogun that made him think he could make it as in the cauldron of the front row.

“If we can say, a rather large rear. Which is what excited me about him.”

“And he’s worked incredibly hard.”

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Still a teenager, Iyogun has more than enough time to make the transition. “We had a process to work to, and Manny will battle through that,” said Ferguson. And that process appears to be working, with Iyogun making his mark on the game despite the loss.

European Rugby’s decision to allow Northampton Saints to sign loosehead prop Alex Seville ahead of Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final with Exeter Chiefs was generally well-received despite Rob Baxter’s accusation of mind games.

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