Teimana Harrison may be savouring the memories of a day at Twickenham that yielded his first international try, but Saturday brought both hits and misses for the Saints representing their countries.
A busy day of action was already underway by the time England kicked off, with George Pisi running out to represent Samoa against Georgia in Tbilisi. The centre marked his 21st cap with his first try in four years, but it was a rare highlight for the Samoans, who could not overcome a physical Georgian outfit in front of their own supporters, going down 16-20.
Then attention turned to Twickenham, where Harrison was one of three Saints to feature in England’s 11th successive win under head coach Eddie Jones. Dylan Hartley again captained the team, with Courtney Lawes turning out in the second row. However when there are club mates on opposing sides in the international game there are always losers as well as winners from the same action, with Campese Ma’afu and Api Ratuniyawara on the wrong side of the 58-15 result.
Results were somewhat closer in the other three games to include players from Franklin’s Gardens.
Nafi Tuitavake helped Tonga to a 20-17 win over the USA in San Sebastian, the Islanders having to hold off a second-half Eagles fightback to record their second win of the Autumn.
Also in the early evening, fellow centre Juan Pablo Estelles was a second half replacement as Argentina and Scotland played out an Edinburgh thriller. The teams traded try for try, penalty for penalty, and as the clock ticked red everything was tied up at 13-all. But Greig Laidlaw held his nerve to break Puma hearts and give the Scots a 16-13 win.
The final game of the day came in Paris, where Louis Picamoles faced Australia with his France team mates. As at Murrayfield, the two teams could not shake each other off, sharing half-a-dozen tries equally as well as four penalties. Bernard Foley’s success with two conversions made the difference, but France could have stolen a win well after the hooter had Camille Lopez not sent a 35-metre drop-goal attempt wide of the uprights.
There is another full round of international fixtures next weekend, with Samoa facing Canada in Grenoble on Friday, England hosting Argentina at Twickenham, Tonga travelling to Padova to play Italy, Fiji coming up against Japan in Vannes, Wales hoping to inflict more misery on South Africa in Cardiff and France rounding things off against New Zealand in Paris, with all these games being played on Saturday.