Saints backs enjoy successful return from injury

Coach Mark Hopley was impressed with Saints' returning backs in Friday night's 52-17 friendly win at Bedford Blues.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 9:23 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:04 am
Luther Burrell was back in action for Saints at Bedford (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Tom Stephenson made his comeback from the broken leg he suffered in the pre-season game against Rotherham Titans back in August.

Luther Burrell also started at centre after recovering from the ankle injury sustained against Castres in January.

And JJ Hanrahan was another man making a welcome return, bouncing back from the hand problem he picked up at Montpellier in January to start at fly-half.

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“I thought they all did really well," Hopley said.

"You can see that we’re probably a little bit rusty as a team because there’s a lot of boys there that haven’t played rugby and that’s not necessarily those boys coming back from injury, it’s more a reflection of us as a squad.

“These boys have trained really hard all week as well so there’s probably a little bit of fatigue coming into that as well, but I thought they did outstandingly.”

With Saints out of the Anglo-Welsh Cup, the Bedford game came at the ideal time, especially with a big east midlands derby against Leicester Tigers on the horizon.

And ahead of that home clash with Tigers next Saturday, Hopley said: “We’ve got a hungry squad at the minute.

“We’ve got a lot of players coming back from injury so this game came at the perfect time for those boys and gave them an opportunity to get some valuable game time.

“It is frustrating to not have Wanderers games and we’ve had some of the younger guys in particular out on dual-registration because of that.

"You can see in their play that they’re not rusty and they’re match fit.

"Whereas for some of the other guys it is frustrating, but it’s not a perfect world we live in and this game came along at the right time for us.”