Grayson hails Hodgson

Former England fly-half Paul Grayson hailed Charlie Hodgson's blistering start to the Guinness Premiership campaign, claiming: "He makes the game look very simple." [more]

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Former England fly-half Paul Grayson hailed Charlie Hodgson’s blistering start to the Guinness Premiership campaign, claiming: "He makes the game look very simple."

Hodgson took his points tally to 40 in just two games as champions Sale Sharks defeated Grayson’s Northampton 32-20 at Edgeley Park.

And with Jonny Wilkinson suffering yet another knee injury, England boss Andy Robinson can at least take comfort from Hodgson’s imperious early-season form just 10 days before the elite-player squad gather at Loughborough University.

Sharks playmaker Hodgson will be critical to England’s chances of success during November Tests against New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa (twice), and even a fully-fit Wilkinson would be left in his slipstream on current evidence.

Hodgson booted four penalties, two drop-goals and converted tries by Mark Cueto and Magnus Lund, calling the shots from fly-half to eclipse his opposite number Carlos Spencer.

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"Charlie picked off his points where he could," said Saints coach Grayson. "He used his drop-goal to good effect, and when they (Sale) score, he generally turns it into seven points.

"He kicked the ball well off the deck and makes the game look very simple. He gets the scoreboard rolling and is in good form."

Steve Meehan boosted his chances of landing the Bath head coach’s role on a permanent basis after masterminding an emphatic success against Recreation Ground visitors Leicester.

Meehan, appointed as acting chief two months ago following Brian Ashton’s departure to join a new-look England coaching staff, saw his team recover from an interval deficit against a Tigers outfit that had three players – Martin Castrogiovanni, Louis Deacon and Dan Hipkiss – sin-binned.

"To come back from a defeat against Gloucester last week and play like we did was marvellous," said Meehan.

"It seems to me there all 11 teams in this competition who don’t find it difficult getting up for games against Leicester, but our performance has shown what we are capable of."

Harlequins rugby director Dean Richards bemoaned some "unacceptable" defending as last season’s National League One champions suffered a second successive defeat on their Premiership return.

"There were a couple of tackles where people were just brushed off, which is unacceptable," said Richards. "The players who missed those tackles will be kicking themselves."

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