The 7-defeats-in-a-row streak is over, with a 23-21 win against South Africa. OK, it wasn't pretty. But a win's a win. Two players suffered injuries and were taken off - Charlie Hodgson was replaced by Andy Goode before half time, and Andy Sheridan suffered a leg injury, when Phil Vickery was brought on. With a couple of minutes to go, the prop scored his second, and probably most important, international try. Here's a photo from the England/SA game I attended in 2004:
Other International News
The Welsh steamrollered through Canada, winning 61-26 at the Milennium Stadium on Friday evening. I love the optimism of Ric Suggitt, Canada's Coach, who claims "We will beat Wales at the World Cup". OK...
Wales should head into their clash against the All Blacks next weekend with bags of confidence.
And Argentina made it two in a row with a 16-23 victory against Italy at the Stadio Flaminio. Quite a turnaround as the South Americans were trailing 9-3 at half time. Surely, this win (and last week's) proves that Argentina deserve a crack at bigger competitions - either the Six Nations or Tri-Nations. There's certainly debate to that effect at the BBC Sport Editor's blog. And I agree. Whilst there, I also stumbled across a really interesting piece about the role of the 4th TMO, especially with regards to Noon's try which was disallowed against New Zealand. Food for thought!
Sarries Win On The Road
Northampton were beaten 13-35 at home by a firing Saracens team.
The Men In Black scored five times. Glen Jackson landed all his conversions, Andy Farrell scored his first Premiership try, and Neil de Kock crossed the whitewash again for his third try in a month. This gives Sarries another bonus point which will hopefully see them rise up the table, if not this weekend, then it may well be a vital point later in the season.
I wasn't at the match, but here's a picture of Northampton's Carlos Spencer, playing in the rain-soaked game against Bath from September last year. See more images from that game at rugbypix.com
Other Premiership News
Sale played a real turkey at home on Friday night, losing 18-26 to Newcastle. Philippe Saint-Andre has apologised to the fans for such a poor performance:
"It's the worst performance at home since I've been here. We couldn't catch the ball, we couldn't pass the ball twice and we dropped the ball. It was terrible. We made too many mistakes."Quins saw Worcester off 20-6 at home. Poor old Worcester have now lost 8 in a row, and are camped securely in the relegation zone. Quins know all about that, of course, as they spent last season in National Division 1.