Mark Cueto gave England manager Martin Johnson a timely nudge about his return to form as he raced clear for the try that helped give Sale Sharks a 14-8 win over Guinness Premiership leaders London Irish.
It was the fourth try in the past three games for the 2005 British & Irish Lion and proved he is getting back to something approaching his best after a torrid 2008. The Sale full back’s try on the hour virtually sealed success, although there was still enough time for him to spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin after a fracas with David Paice following his try celebration.
But his performance was enough to get his director of rugby, Philippe Saint-Andre, singing his priases and calling for him to be recalled to the international side.
"Cueto is back to his best and he scored a try again. He has struggled with injuries for 18 months, but in the past 12 weeks he has been free from injury and he has looked sharp, quick and strong," said Saint- Andre.
"It’s the best he’s been in a long time – even during the World Cup he struggled with injury – but he had a good pre-season and you can see in training how confident he is right now. He’ll beat people one on one and when you’re on the wing, you want that."
Lions coach Ian McGeechan, whose London Wasps side had their game against Bath postponed at the last minute, will also have been pleased to see two other 2005 Lions, half-backs Dwayne Peel and Charlie Hodgson, playing a key roles in the Sale victory. There was also a return off the bench for England’s Mathew Tait.