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International Round-Up: Saints star for Lions, England, Fiji and Samoa

With a total of eleven Saints currently featuring for their respective countries around the world, we take a look at all the latest from the Northampton names on the international stage...

Another busy weekend of summer rugby saw several of the Club’s internationals take to the field across the world, representing the British & Irish Lions, England, Fiji and Samoa.

Saturday 10 July
Twickenham Stadium

Eddie Jones’ side rounded off their summer with a resounding 70-14 win over Canada to secure their seventh straight Test win over the side.

Backing up last weekend’s victory against USA, the young England outfit – buoyed by Saints trio Paul Hill, Lewis Ludlam and George Furbank – got themselves on the scoreboard in the game’s first minute and would cross the whitewash another four times, as well as earning a penalty try, before the half-time whistle blew.

Canada did respond in the opening half with two scores of their own but, with Hill, Ludlam and Furbank all entering the fray after the break to earn their sixth, tenth and fourth caps respectively, it was one-way traffic in the second half, with England scoring another four tries to close their summer series with a convincing win.

Saturday 10 July
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Playing Cell C Sharks for the second time in four days – after original opponents, the Vodacom Bulls, were ruled out because of COVID-19 infections – Saints duo Courtney Lawes and Dan Biggar helped the British & Irish Lions recover from a first-half scare to overcome Sharks in Pretoria.

Warren Gatland’s men found themselves behind after Sharks scored twice in response to the Lions’ early effort; and their hosts capitalised on Lions’ errors to cross twice more before Lions scored three of their own to level things 26-26 at the break.

But a red card for Sharks opened the game up in the second half, with the tourists putting another six tries on the scoreboard before the final whistle blew to stay unbeaten so far this summer.

With a couple of try assists to his name, Biggar was also metronomic from kicking tee, landing eight conversions, and the fly-half and Lawes both notched up 80 minutes in the Lions’ biggest win of the Tour so far.

Saturday 10 July
Forsyth Barr, Dunedin

Northampton hooker Sam Matavesi was involved in a fantastic Test match between the All Blacks and Fiji on Saturday, playing 71 minutes for the island nation in Dunedin.

The scoreline did not tell the whole story as New Zealand were made to work hard for their victory by a physical and intrepid Fiji, who scored three tries of their own to leave the game with their heads held high.

And 29-year-old Saint Matavesi impressed in the No.2 jersey, following up a barnstorming carry off a lineout move with an incredibly deft offload to send Mesulame Kunavula over the whitewash in the 48th minute.

Saturday 10 July
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

Samoa and Ahsee Tuala are one step closer to booking a Rugby World Cup 2023 spot after toppling Tonga 42-13 in Auckland on Saturday.

The Northampton fullback started the game for Samoa and after a tight first half (with the scoreline 6-3 at the interval), Samoa pulled away in the second 40 with five tries by Ray Niuia, Alamanda Motuga, Ed Fidow, Stacey Ili, and Henry Taefu.

The two teams will meet again this Saturday in Hamilton, New Zealand, and should Samoa avoid defeat by 29 points or more, they will secure the Oceania 1 spot for the next Rugby World Cup – joining England, Japan, Argentina and the Americas 2 qualifier in Pool D in France.

ENGLAND U20s 27 – 17 ITALY U20s
Tuesday 13 July
Cardiff Arms Park

Young Saints centre Tom Litchfield was ruled out of the Red Rose’s final clash of the U20s Six Nations Championship, but thanks to Alan Dickens’ side’s triumph, the 19-year-old can call himself a Grand Slam champion.

Former Northampton fly-half Tommy Mathews featured in the No.10 jersey for England as they saw off Italy 27-17 in Cardiff to claim their first title since 2017.

Litchfield played in England’s first three matches of the tournament and joined in the celebrations on Tuesday as England notched up a fifth-straight bonus-point win.

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