Ferguson delivers Saints injury latest ahead of Newcastle Falcons clash

Lewis Ludlam (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Lewis Ludlam (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Lewis Ludlam (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Lewis Ludlam is now back in full training at Saints and could feature against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.

The club captain suffered a high ankle sprain in the Gallagher Premiership win against Harlequins on November 24.

But Ludlam is now ready to return to action and Saints coach Ferguson says he has been having a big impact in training.

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"He was in full training last week and I do believe one of the reasons why we were so prepared for what happened (in the 26-23 win at Munster) on Saturday was because of the way Luds led the Wandies (Saints’ squad members who trained against the first team) last week," Ferguson said at Tuesday’s media session.

"You know he's on the pitch because you can hear him before you see him and he's just done exactly the same thing this afternoon in the barn (Saints' High Performance Centre).

"He's ready to go and we've just got to make the decision as to when we let the him off the leash."

Sam Matavesi missed last weekend's superb win at Thomond Park due to injury.

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But Ferguson said: "He just had a little back spasm going into the end of the week.

"We're so blessed in that area with our hookers that with the travel (to Munster) we thought it wasn't the right decision to take him so we left him here.

"He is absolutely champing at the bit to get out there this weekend and play.

"He's one of those energy drivers that we need so Sam is available."

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Saints are still set to be without wingers George Hendy, James Ramm and Tom Seabrook, but they recently recruited former Bath back Gabriel Hamer-Webb on a short-term deal.

And when asked what he's seen of Hamer-Webb in training so far, Ferguson said: "I've seen his back a lot because boy he's quick.

"He's a powerful, well-built winger.

"He came back from a season playing in New Zealand and he's very much in that Ollie Sleightholme mold of winger.

"He looks absolutely rapid so if he gets a chance, he could be a good one to watch."

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Saints are without five of their first-choice back line this weekend as Alex Mitchell, Fin Smith, Fraser Dingwall, Tommy Freeman and George Furbank are at an England training camp ahead of the Guinness Six Nations.

That opens the door for other players to step up, with powerful centre Joel Matavesi having impressed while playing on loan for Bedford Blues at Doncaster Knights last weekend.

"He threw an outrageous dummy in that game and he's trained really well today," Ferguson said.

"He had a disappointing season with a couple of knocks but today he took my eye and I thought he looked in really good shape.

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"He's a big human and he was champing at the bit to get a chance for the weekend."

Saints are still able to call on Elliot Millar Mills and Rory Hutchinson this weekend, despite the duo training with Scotland during the early part of the week.

But there is no doubt that there will need to be several changes to the side that won at Munster last weekend.

And Ferguson is excited about seeing players step up.

He said: "I think some of the hardest rugby we play is on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and some of those guys don't necessarily get the public reward they deserve because they unfortunately don't get the chance to put the shirt on at the weekend, but some of those guys will this weekend.

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"It's a delightful opportunity for them to go out and showcase.

"They don't need to be anything other than they are.

"We don't want them to be somebody different.

"We're pretty confident all those players are game-ready through the loan clubs. Bedford had a cracking game away to Doncaster.

"We've asked Tommy Litchfield to go and play on the wing at Gloucester and we've never been let down by these players.

"We've had a really good session this afternoon and we're delighted to see some of these people get a chance at the weekend."