RUGBY UNION: Saints waiting patiently for Elvis

Northampton 9 Bath 6

Even before their epic victory over the reigning Courage League champions Bath, Northampton were voicing their feelings over an apparent lack of interest on the part of the England management to watch their players. One Saints' player quipped: "There is more chance of seeing Elvis Presley at Franklin's Gardens than Jack Rowell."

Ian McGeechan, the British Lions coach, but more pertinently Northampton's director of rugby, put things a little more politely. "Perhaps I should send Jack Rowell the directions to the ground. We've been playing some excellent rugby recently, but no one would know that because we haven't been watched."

Les Cusworth, a member of the England coaching team, was apparently due at the match. He did not turn up for whatever reason, and missed a stunning match of the old fashioned variety, plenty of hard graft and no tries - although Northampton at least had two touchdowns disallowed. Bath, who lost hooker Graham Dawe with a dislocated elbow after six minutes, never looked remotely like scoring.

England's new captain Phil de Glanville, who also leads Bath, was scathing about his side's efforts. "There have been a lot of distractions this week, but we should have been good enough to rise above them," he said. "We've got to batten down the hatches and focus on playing Cardiff in the Heineken Cup quarter-final next week, which is a huge game."

But so was this one. This was their third League defeat and the season is not yet half-way through. On the three previous occasions that Bath have lost three or more League games in a season, they have missed out on the title. That may not be the case this year, but they cannot afford slip-ups. Particularly not against what was a weakened side without two Ireland internationals and the inspirational Scotland captain, Gregor Townsend.

What was even more remarkable was that Northampton managed the win despite losing their captain, Tim Rodber, five minutes before the interval. He has just earned an England recall for the Italian match, but limped off with a gash on the inside of his left knee clearly caused by someone's studs. There was a flap of skin hanging down and one of the two duty doctors said: "It was a deep cut. It looked like a butcher's knife had skinned him."

Rodber, who had until them been part of a storming forward display that continued unabated after his departure, admitted he thought it had put paid to his international return: "When I came off I could see my medial ligaments so I was a bit worried about possible damage to them."

Fortunately, after some embroidery, Rodber was able to pronounce that he would be OK for England and was even confident that he would make Northampton's European Conference quarter-final against Narbonne on Saturday.

Two of the players at the core of a magnificent team achievement were the axed England half-backs Matt Dawson and Paul Grayson. The performance they turned in was out of the top drawer, but England have bundled them to the back of the closet. The pair of them always seemed to take the right options and, like the rest of the Saints side, were exemplary in defence. Centre Matt Allen was superb, repeatedly snuffing out the threat of Jeremy Guscott - also discarded by Rowell - and De Glanville, while Jon Sleightholme and Adedayo Adebayo, England's two wings, found Harvey Thorneycroft, Nick Beal and Ian Hunter an impenetrable wall.

Northampton: Penalties Grayson 2; Drop goal Grayson. Bath: Penalties Callard 2.

Northampton: N Beal; I Hunter, R McNaughton, M Allen, H Thorneycroft; P Grayson, M Dawson; M Volland, T Beddow, M Hynes, J Phillips, J Chandler, S Tatupu, B Pountey, T Rodber (capt; J Cassell, 30).

Bath: J Callard; J Sleightholme, P de Glanville (capt), J Guscott, A Adebayo; M Catt, C Harrison; K Yates, G Dawe (N McCarthy, 6), J Mallett, M Haag, B Cusack, A Robinson, R Webster (N Thomas, 48), S Ojomoh.

Referee: E Morrison (Bristol).

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home