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Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Defeat to New Zealand may have been England’s first of the autumn, but the Saints lads still stood out, Courtney Lawes singled out as England’s top performer by former All Black Zinzan Brooke and Dylan Hartley influential on his 50th cap before departing with a knock.

Lee Dickson, Ben Foden and Tom Wood also started the game and the latter joined Lawes and Hartley on the shortlist for QBE Man of the Series along with full back Mike Brown – the Saints making up three-quarters of that list. Voting is open now at www.qberugby.com with £1,000 going to the winners’ charity of choice.

Elsewhere, Vasily Artemyev was in Russia colours but his Bears man of the match performance couldn’t prevent them from slipping to a 13-40 defeat to Japan in North Wales. Further south on Saturday, however, George North was back on the scoresheet for Wales in Cardiff, the Saints wing registering one of his country’s four tries in a crushing 40-6 beating of Argentina.

It was to be a good day for Samu Manoa and the USA, too, as the Eagles kicked a last minute penalty for an historic win in Georgia, but skipper Kahn Fotuali’i and Ken Pisi went down to a star-studded French Barbarians in Clermont later on Saturday afternoon, despite a try for the scrum-half.

The international action concludes this weekend with Wales facing off against Australia at the Millennium Stadium, Samoa travelling to Georgia and Russia and USA facing off at Saracens’ Allianz Park.

The England contingent meanwhile are back with the club and available for selection! Make sure you are at the Gardens as Premiership Rugby returns with the visit of Newcastle. CLICK HERE to book your tickets online and choose [email protected] to save on fees!

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