There was rugby at Wembley yesterday, as well as at the Millennium Stadium and the Stade de France, and 40,163 spectators turned up at England's national football stadium to watch Saracens beat Worcester 25-20 in a Guinness Premiership fixture. On a Six Nations weekend, even given that England are playing away and doing so today, that is quite a coup, even for Sarries' seasoned marketing department.
Rather less surprising than the number of people who turned up was that the boot of Glen Jackson won it for Sarries – the Kiwi fly-half kicked six penalties and converted his side's only try, which was scored by the South African scrum-half Neil de Kock. That was Saracens' 15th Premiership try of the season, from 13 games, 10 of which they have won. Worcester's Kiwi fly-half, Willie Walker, kicked two penalties and two conversions, one of a try by the flanker Tom Wood – an Englishman, no less – and the other of a penalty try.
The victory put Saracens back on top of the Premiership table, a point ahead of Northampton, one of two other sides who have been beaten at Wembley this season. The other being South Africa, no less. Yesterday, the Saints beat Newcastle 25-13 at Franklin's Gardens.
Chris Ashton, the wing who was released from the England squad earlier in the week, scored two tries and the scrum-half Lee Dickson one, against his former club. Stephen Myler kicked two conversions and two penalties. Rob Vickers scored Newcastle's try and Jimmy Gopperth kicked a conversion and two penalties.
Something seems to be stirring at Kingsholm, where Gloucester followed the midweek news of Sir Ian McGeechan's arrival in an advisory role and a new contract for the head coach, Bryan Redpath, with a six-try, 44-6 spanking of Harlequins, the team they beat away last week to qualify for the semi-finals of the LV Cup.
James Simpson-Daniel ran in three of the Cherry and Whites' tries and the other three were also scored by backs – two of them by other sometime England wings, Lesley Vainikolo and Tom Voyce, and one by the centre Tim Molenaar. The Welsh fly-half Nicky Robinson kicked three penalties and two conversions. The former All Black fly-half Nick Evans kicked two penalties for Quins.
Today, Leeds are at home to Leicester, London Irish host Bath and Wasps are at home to Sale. Leicester will leapfrog Saracens and Northampton and go back to the top if they beat the bottom-placed club.
The Super 14 – which will become a Super 15 next season with the introduction of the Melbourne Rebels – has kicked off this weekend. In yesterday's matches the New South Wales Waratahs beat the Queensland Reds 30-28 in Brisbane; the Crusaders beat the Highlanders 30-24 in Christchurch; and the defending champions, South Africa's Bulls, won 51-34 against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.