Nathan Hughes and Sam Jones earned their first England call-ups on Friday and they celebrated that fact in fine style in a dramatic round five in the Aviva Premiership.
With their Wasps teammate James Haskell out injured – Eddie Jones is looking elsewhere for inspiration and back-row balance for the Red Rose while attentions are also turning towards The British & Irish Lions 2017 Tour to New Zealand.
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And Hughes was outstanding on Sunday as Wasps stayed on top of the table with their fifth win in a row this season, downing Harlequins 47-18 .
The No.8 topped almost every category – according to Opta – in a stellar display.
With ball in hand he made 66 metres, including two clean breaks and beat two defenders while on the defensive end he made 17 tackles and won four turnovers.
His back-row teammate Jones made 15 tackles of his own, demonstrating exactly the sort of hard-nosed defensive grit that will interest Jones with the autumn internationals in mind.
Special mention to Gloucester’s Tom Savage who – despite his side’s defeat to Bath – made 16 tackles to take his season tally to 63, more than any other player this season.
Saracens in Kruis control
Staying with English forwards and Maro Itoje will be familiar to all readers of the LionsWatch for his exploits this season and last – he now tops the league for turnovers with seven.
But on Friday night it was his England and Saracens second row partner George Kruis who caught the eye in a supreme showing.
The lock – making his first appearance after a three-game absence suffering from back spasms – scored a try but contributed so much more than that.
He ruled the skies with seven lineout wins and managed a steal in a performance that his own director of rugby Mark McCall described as exceptional.
While the forwards were putting in the hard yards, the speedsters in the back line were also turning heads in round five.
Semesa Rokoduguni has made more metres than any other player in the league this season with 403 but this weekend it was the international trio of Mike Brown, Tim Visser and Charlie Sharples that managed a century of metres with ball in hand.
Brown was impressive at full-back for Quins with 17 carries and six defenders beaten but he was powerless to prevent Wasps from running riot in a six-try win.
2013 Lion Christian Wade and Elliot Daly – who played against the Lions in 2013 for the Barbarians – both crossed for tries in a vibrant Wasps back line.
Another 2013 Lion in George North made 70m with a try and a superb assist for Rory Hutchinson – the latter also enjoying a superb debut – as Northampton Saints came from behind to beat Exeter Chiefs.
Rugby is Awesome. 2 blokes can smash each other for 80 mins then shake hands & brood over a mates newborn! ?????@premrugby @WorcsWarriors pic.twitter.com/wtPALb4ber
— Bull (@tv_Bull) October 3, 2016
England’s latest call-up in the No.10 jersey is Saracens Alex Lozowski and he managed two tries to take his tally to four for the season while he also kicked his goals to take his tally to 58 points in five games.
Elsewhere Sale Sharks claimed an impressive win over Leicester Tigers at the AJ Bell Stadium and Worcester Warriors ground out a victory over Newcastle.