The past weekend was a successful one for most of the club’s international players.
On Saturday afternoon Dylan Hartley captained England to their third win of the Autumn Internationals and the 12th successive victory since he was handed the armband at the start of the year.
Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes also started the win over Argentina, with Teimana Harrison coming off the bench. Juan Pablo Estelles was a late call-up into the Pumas’ starting 15 from the bench for the Twickenham clash.
England’s continuing success unsurprisingly attracted the headlines, but the action got underway on Friday night, with Ken Pisi starting and Ahsee Tuala coming off the bench in Samoa’s 25-23 win over Canada in Grenoble.
Later on Saturday Nafi Tuitavake helped Tonga to an historic win over Italy in Padova. In a game that swung this way and that, a late penalty from scrum-half Tane Takulua secured a 19-17 success for the Islanders, their first over Italy since 1999 and only the sixth time they have beaten a Tier One nation.
Things were somewhat less tense for the Saints’ other Islander, Fijian lock Api Ratuniyarawa, who came off the bench to help his country round off their Autumn with a 38-25 win over Japan in Vannes, France. Fiji scored seven tries in all, but had to withstand something of a fightback from the Brave Blossoms, who had trailed 6-21 at half-time.
Also on Saturday afternoon, George North was part of the Wales team that finished their Autumn campaign on a winning note, overcoming South Africa 27-13 in Cardiff, just the third time that the men in red have beaten the Springboks at senior international level.
The international weekend finished in Paris, where Louis Picamoles scored a second half try for France as they came close to upstaging the All Blacks. The world champions had scored three converted tries and a penalty to give themselves a comfortable margin, but Picamoles crashed over for a try which brought the Stade de France crowd to its feet. However New Zealand held on to head home with a 24-19 win.
All of the Saints’ internationals have now returned to Franklin’s Gardens, while the England players will remain in camp ahead of their final match of 2016 against Australia this coming Saturday.