"We Can Beat Anybody" - Northampton Wing George Hendy Backs Confident Saints After Record Premiership Win Over Gloucester - Ruck

“We Can Beat Anybody” – Northampton Wing George Hendy Backs Confident Saints After Record Premiership Win Over Gloucester

Northampton Saints ran out an unrelenting victory on Saturday, in what was a historic Premiership triumph at Franklin’s Gardens. The Saints scored 14 unanswered tries and totalled up a 90-0 thrashing of Gloucester, to record the biggest ever victory for a home team in Premiership history.

The 90-point hammering is only eclipsed by a fixture from 1999, when Richmond travelled to Bedford Blues on the final round of the pre-millennium season. The West Londoners racked up an incredible 106-12 away win, with the 94 point margin of victory narrowly standing the test of time despite Northampton’s best efforts last Saturday.

Ollie Sleightholme of Northampton Saints Celebrates with team mates during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Northampton Saints and Gloucester Rugby at Franklins Gardens Stadium on11 May. Photo: Richard Bierton/PPAUK

Speaking after the match, Northampton’s versatile back three talent George Hendy expressed his delight at the milestone score-line.

“It definitely feels good. I think this game was almost just as big as last week’s Leinster game (Champions Cup semi-final) for us. Because we knew if we did our jobs right and put our game on the pitch, that we have a real good shot at getting a home semi final. I think now, that even looking at that score line, we actually didn’t do anything to magical with everybody just did their jobs pretty well. It was pretty special to be a part of.”

It was relentless affair at the Gardens, as Northampton got the points scoring underway from the first minute and did not let up for the entirety of the fixture. The teams were undoubtedly miss-matched heading into the clash, with polarising priorities on display for the Saints and Cherry & Whites. Northampton fielded their strongest starting XV, star-studded with England internationals in hopes of clinching a home semi-finalGloucester kept one eye on the EPCR Challenge Cup Final.

Alex Mitchell of Northampton Saints Celebrates with Tommy Freeman of Northampton Saints during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Northampton Saints and Gloucester Rugby at Franklins Gardens Stadium on11 May. Photo: Richard Bierton/PPAUK

George Skivington stuck firmly to the playbook, and decided to only field three players from the semi-final win over Benetton, (Josh Hathaway, Lewis Ludlow and Freddie Thomas) amidst a squad of relatively inexperienced youngsters. Captain Ludlow was withdrawn at half-time, as the Gloucester head coach stuck to his plan to best prepare his side for the upcoming Challenge Cup final against the Hollywoodbet Sharks (Friday, May 24th).

Northampton achieved an unprecedented point per minute score-line to close out the first half, as the teams departed at 40-0 to the Saints. After a dominant first 40 minutes, Hendy discussed the team talk, and what Director of Rugby Phil Dowson told the group to keep their focus and determination for the remainder of the match.

“I think definitely just trying to be clean out of our back end. I think in the first half, we were really good at that and played the whole half in their end. I think we’re just like relentless in the way that we play. And our game plans all about that. And everybody knows it works. And it doesn’t matter who rocks up, if we can play our game, we’re pretty confident we can beat anybody. And today I think was a perfect example of that.”

Tom Seabrook of Northampton Saints celebrates crossing the Exeter Chiefs try-line with team-mate George Hendy but the score is later ruled out during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs at Franklins Gardens, Northampton on 12 November 2023. – PHOTO: Patrick Khachfe/PPAUK

Riding a wave of upmost confidence after such a big win, Hendy rallied behind his Saints teammates when asked who he would want to take on in the semi-final. After some deliberation on the likes of Saracens, Bath and Bristol Bears, the flying fullback decided that it didn’t matter who Northampton took on in the play-offs, as he backed the boys in black, gold and green to go the distance and reach the final at Twickenham.

“I’m not really sure it matters too much. I think that’s the beauty of what (Sam) Vesty and Dowson and (Lee) Radford have done this season. I think they’ve really looked at the nuts and bolts of what makes us tick. And we’re pretty confident that we can beat anybody on our day. Thankfully that’s happened a lot more often than not this season. So I don’t think it matters who rocks up they’re just going to be in for a scrap, and a pretty big game.”

Northampton firmly have their sights set on their first Premiership title since the 2013/14 season, in what would only be the second league trophy for the cinch Stadium cabinet. The Saints hopes of an incredible league and European double were dashed in Dublin, as Leinster eliminated Dowson’s men in the semi-final. Hendy re-called the despair of the Champions Cup elimination, and discussed how it has been a driving factor to clinch the English top flight.

Northampton Saints player George Hendy looks for a gap during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints at the AJ Bell Stadium on 15th October. Photo: Steve Bond/PPAUK

“I think the biggest lesson we took out of it was that we’ve actually still got a lot of confidence in our game plan. We only were performing how we want to perform for the last 20 minutes of that game at Croke Park and ended up missing, losing by three points against a pretty strong team. So I think we took a load of confidence out of that. Yes, it stings and yes, it hurts. But I think we now know that we’ve got a lot of confidence going forward into the semifinals, and hopefully the final.”

“I think we were frustrated at halftime because the score line wasn’t… we weren’t getting hammered, but it felt like we hadn’t fired a shot yet (against Leinster). I think that was the most frustrating part, they’ve kind of thrown everything at us, and they’ve only got 12 points to show for it.

“It was just trying to work out how we can get our game plan on to the pitch. That was what our focus was this week, we took it right back down to the basics and just tried to have a look at how we can get our game plan on the pitch for 80 minutes and not just 20 minutes at the end of the game, or 30 or even a half, which has happened a few times this season. But I think that was a full 80 minute performance (against Gloucester) that we can be pretty proud of.”