Saints outgun Sharks as Geraghty presses claim

Northampton 21 Sale 16

There is an elephant in the room with all the talk of England picking Shane Geraghty at inside centre against Australia on Saturday week: the Northampton Saint who joined from London Irish in the summer has played all but one of his club matches this season at fly-half.

It is a point of discussion which Bruce Reihana, whose try just before half-time helped ease Northampton to only their second win over Sale in nine meetings, did not gloss over. "Shane has added tremendously to our team and he's on fire at 10," said Reihana, the Saints' former All Black. "It would be hard for England not to play him in that position because he's the form fly-half in the country at the moment. But it looks as though Jonny Wilkinson will be playing and Shane gives England an option at 12."

Geraghty has bags of experience at centre, but if he does get the nod against the Wallabies it will be the 23-year-old's first Test start and he might have appreciated a preparatory run-up. The tasks Geraghty performed against Sale – before he was substituted by Stephen Myler for the final quarter – were all those of a traditional fly-half: kicking from first phase, standing at first receiver and so on.

Geraghty did at least come through unscathed, along with the England elite squad members Mark Cueto, Mathew Tait and Dylan Hartley, and those like Geraghty who have hopes of promotion from the Saxons squad: Ben Foden, Richard Wigglesworth and Courtney Lawes. The latter is a strong-armed, multi-skilled forward with oodles of promise.

"The boys who are being talked about for England have definitely shown their worthiness," said Reihana. "Dylan is the form hooker and has to start, while Ben Foden at the back is getting better and better every week and his positioning is becoming top-class. They certainly have the X-factor that England needs."

Sale's director of rugby Kingsley Jones joked that a club needed a squad of 50, split into three groups, to cope with today's Premiership, Heineken and Anglo-Welsh Cup commitments.

More seriously, he bemoaned the loss of temper by Andy Tuilagi which put the Samoan in the sin bin after 30 minutes. Tuilagi's brother, Henry, marmalised Northampton in the colours of Perpignan the previous week, so it was a kind of payback. While the Sale centre was off, Foden scored a well-worked try in one corner, and Reihana beat a couple of weak tackles for a try in the other.

That made it 15-3 at half-time. Northampton's depleted scrum conceded a soft try to Lawes's England Under-20 colleague James Gaskell and Sale eked out a consolation bonus point thanks to Charlie Hodgson's last-gasp penalty.

Northampton: Tries Foden, Reihana; Conversion Geraghty; Penalties Geraghty 2, Myler.

Sale: Try Gaskell; Conversion Hodgson; Penalties Hodgson 3.

Northampton: B Foden; C Ashton, C Mayor (J Ansbro, 54), J Downey, B Reihana; S Geraghty (S Myler, 59), L Dickson (A Dickens, 71); R Dreyer, D Hartley (capt), S Tonga'uiha, I Fernandez Lobbe (C Day, 59), C Lawes, P Dowson, N Best (M Easter, 51), R Wilson.

Sale: N Macleod; M Cueto, M Tait (C Bell, 75), A Tuilagi, B Cohen; C Hodgson, R Wigglesworth (D Peel, 71); G Kerr (J Forster, 56), M Jones, E Roberts, D Schofield (capt; R O'Donnell, 75), S Cox, J Gaskell (B Cockbain, 51), D Seymour, S Koyamibole (D Tait, 54).

Referee: P Fitzgibbon (Ireland).

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone