Danny Cipriani gave England manager Martin Johnson another gentle nudge that he is ready to return to the top flight as he held his nerve to kick three penalties to give London Wasps a 9-5 win over Northampton Saints in the Guinness Premiership.
The Wasps No 10 has had to sit out the opening two rounds of the RBS Six Nations as Johnson went with the experienced Andy Goode at outside half.
Cipriani had hoped to push his claims for a return to the full Test with a good performance for the England Saxons against Ireland A, but that game was called off because of a frozen pitch.
So, his chances of convincing Johnson he is the man to get England moving again have been restricted to club duty and he could have done no more than prove a match winner with his boot at Adams Park.
On a weekend that saw Sale Sharks briefly go to the go to the top of the table with their 32-13 home triumph over Bristol on Friday night, only to be overtaken by Gloucester a day later as they picked up a bonus point in their 14-9 defeat at Harlequins, it fell to Cipriani to grab the headlines on Sunday.
The outside half kicked Wasps into a 6-0 interval lead with two first-half penalties and then added a third after the break to keep the resurgent Saints’ at bay. England utility back Ben Foden grabbed a try for the visitors and nearly score another in a desperate kick and chase.
Every game ended with a home win, apart from the 20-20 draw at The Recreation Ground in the game between Bath and London Irish. Newcastle did their chances of staying in the Premiership a power of good with a 13-9 triumph over Saracens and Leicester hammered Worcester 38-5.