The Northampton youngster had a huge impact after coming off the bench


Northampton Saints’ George Hendy made history as the first replacement to win the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Match award after helping his side to a thrilling 25-21 triumph over Bath at Twickenham.

Hendy was introduced just four minutes into the second half after centre Burger Odendaal was helped off the field with an injury. That forced Phil Dowson’s side into a backline reshuffle with Hendy coming onto the wing and opening try-scorer Tommy Freeman shifting into the 13 channel.

Read more: Watch Beno Obano red card shock Bath early in Premiership final

George Hendy history maker

But things did not start all that smoothly for the flame-haired back-three youngster as he was at fault for Will Muir’s try. Playing with penalty advantage, Ben Spencer sent a cross-field kick out to the right wing which Hendy failed to gather and allowed Muir to feed off the scraps and score a try that brought the scores level in the 50th minute at 18-18.

Remarkably Hendy appeared to shake off that disappointment and with Saints trailing 21-18 and the clock against them in the final ten minutes he came up with a surging break where he brushed off several Bath defenders and even looked to hand-off one of his own supporting team-mates before he was finally felled just short of the Bath try-line.

Luckily for Saints, scrum-half Alex Mitchell was in support and jinked over after receiving Hendy’s offload.

The 21-year-old was not done there, however. As Bath kept knocking on the door at the death to try and force the win, the ball came out to their left and Orlando Bailey took the ball into contact only for Hendy to come up with a crucial rip in the tackle to finally seal Saints’ triumph in the 83rd minute.

After the match, he was left at a loss for words, but told TNT Sports: “We tried to continue to be us. We didn’t want to change the way we have played all season and after 80 minutes if we put our game on the pitch we’d be happy and it’s even better that we got the result.

“If you’d have told me how this year would go last year I would have bitten your hand off and called you a liar.

“This has been a full 60-man effort as well as the coaches and it’s something we will cherish for a long time.”

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