Furbank 'loving life' as he helps to steer the Saints ship

George FurbankGeorge Furbank
George Furbank
George Furbank is 'loving life' as a key leader in the Saints squad.

With club captain Lewis Ludlam away with England, having started both Guinness Six Nations games so far, others are having to step up.

Furbank certainly did that as he skippered Saints to a superb 19-18 derby-day win at Leicester Tigers late last month.

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And the 26-year-old, who has not been part of England's squad for the Six Nations, said: "I'm loving life here at the moment.

"We've got a really good group of lads and we're going reasonably well.

"It's been up and down, so to get a bit more consistency would be great, but I'm really happy here at the moment."

Regular full-back Furbank started at fly-half against Leicester, showing just how valuable he is to Saints.

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"The only way you develop in that role is having game time there," he said, when asked about playing at 10.

"I started feeling very comfortable going there with 15, 20 minutes to go, but it's very different to starting the game.

"You've got to manage the game differently to when you go there late in the match so it's been a new experience for me and one I'm learning from.

"It doesn't change things during the week too much. You've obviously got to lead a bit more in attack and to make sure you've got that role knowledge but nothing really changes."

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Furbank is likely to be back at 15 on Saturday as Saints have Fin Smith and James Grayson to call upon at fly-half this weekend.

Whoever plays will be tasked with helping Saints to overcome a formidable Sale Sharks side, who currently sit comfortably in second in the Gallagher Premiership standings.

"It is a really big challenge," Furbank said.

"They're obviously flying this season, they're going really well.

"They bring a big, physical game, a very good kicking game and they've really developed that running game as well.

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"They bring that triple threat and it's going to be a big challenge for us this weekend, but one we're really excited for.

"They've got an incredible pack of carriers and if we bring that physicality, they will go to that kick game so we've got to be really good at dealing with that as well.

"There are a few areas we've got to look after to launch our game on them."

Saints are currently fourth in the standings, though they are only actually 11 points ahead of bottom side Bristol Bears, such is the tight nature of this season's table.

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"We are fourth but we're well aware that we need to put a run of victories together in this next block of games to keep that position," Furbank said.

"If you lose one or two of those games, you're down to eighth, ninth, 10th in the league and it's very tight.

"We're not focusing too much on league position at the moment - it's just about getting results in these games."

Furbank and several of Saints' other regular starters have had the past two weekends off as the club has had a bye week in the league and a Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final to deal with.

And Furbank said: "It has been nice.

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"A few boys had a week off after that Leicester game and it was nice to rest the mind, rest the body and then we were in last week, prepping the boys for that Prem Cup game.

"We've got a good week of training under our belt and we're back into playing this weekend."

Furbank was able to sit back and watch two of his Saints team-mates shine for England last Sunday as Ludlam started against Italy and Alex Mitchell came off the bench to win his second cap.

Scrum-half Mitchell produced an eye-catching assist for Henry Arundell during the second half.

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"I felt very proud and I was buzzing for Mitch," Furbank said.

"For him to come on and do what he does best in setting up that try, it was a cool moment.

"I hope he keeps getting opportunities in the Six Nations."