Impressive Geraghty pushes claim for call-up England squad

Northampton 30 Leeds 10
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The Independent Online

The case for Shane Geraghty's inclusion in the England team for their series of November Tests is growing stronger by the week. Sure, the defences of Australia, Argentina and New Zealand will not be as charitable as Leeds' was on Saturday but Geraghty, the Northampton fly-half, is pulling strings like no other No 10 in the Guinness Premiership is at the moment.

"He orchestrated things, he is smart with the ball in hand and kicked well," Neil Back, the head coach of Leeds, said of Geraghty. "He's got a lot of talent and plays with a smile on his face."

Geraghty was not always on the front foot, with Leeds more than holding their own up front, but his eye for a gap sparked Northampton's recovery at Franklin's Gardens. The 23-year-old was involved in three of Northampton's four tries which arrived in a 13-minute spell in the first half.

Geraghty glided over for one and set up two for Jon Clarke, the centre, with left-foot kicks. With Martin Johnson's options at inside-centre restricted owing to injuries to Riki Flutey and Jordan Turner-Hall, Geraghty should be promoted from the England Saxons into the senior 32 for the autumn's internationals. Clarke is also putting his hand up for an England call-up with four tries in Northampton's opening four matches. "He's scoring tries, he's turning ball over – defensively he's one of the best in the Premiership at 13," said Jim Mallinder, Northampton's director of rugby.

Northampton's impressive start to the campaign will be tested severely at Wasps on Sunday. Leeds were strong in the breakdown department, but basic errors and poor decision-making behind the scrum continues to cost them.

Northampton: Tries Geraghty, Clarke 2, Ashton; Conversions Geraghty 2; Penalties Geraghty, Reihana. Leeds: Try Thomas; Conversion Paul; Penalty Thomas.

Northampton: B Foden; C Ashton, J Clarke (J Ansboro, 40), C Mayor, B Reihana; S Geraghty (B Everitt, 68), L Dickson (A Dickens, 63); S Tonga'uiha (R Dreyer, 63), B Sharman (M Cairns, 63), S Bonorino (B Mujati, 46, S Tonga'uiha, 71), C Lawes (I Fernandez Lobbe, 57), J Kruger, P Dowson ((capt) N Best, 57), R Wilson, S Gray.

Leeds: J Goodridge; R Welding, J Hepworth, H Paul, S Armstrong (P Blackett, 75); C Thomas (L Burrell, 57), A Gomarsall (S Mathie, 57); G Hardy (A Moreno, 75), P Nilsen (V Ma'asi, 52), J Gomez, E Lund, J Pendlebury (capt), T Denton, R Oakley (A To'oala, 52), H Fourie (C Clark, 64).

Referee: S Davey (London).

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