Cohen prepared to be a martyr to Saints' cause

Ben Cohen has pledged his future to Northampton, regardless of whether the Zurich Premiership's bottom side manage to escape relegation.

Ben Cohen has pledged his future to Northampton, regardless of whether the Zurich Premiership's bottom side manage to escape relegation.

Even though his England career is currently on hold, and unlikely to be revived if Saints go down, the 26-year-old World Cup winner has given his team-mates a major fillip in advance of this afternoon's meeting with Wasps at the Causeway Stadium. "If we did go down, I would definitely go down too," said Cohen, who plays on the left wing today. "I'd want to bring the club back up. But until then we'll be doing our utmost to stay up."

Saints also welcome back the England hooker Steve Thompson and Scotland prop Tom Smith, while Bruce Reihana, who has rejected a contract offer from his native New Zealand to stay at Northampton, features at full-back. Wasps hand a debut to Paul Sackey, the wing recruited last week from London Irish, while the England trio of Josh Lewsey, Matt Dawson and Joe Worsley also start.

Sackey's former club tackle Saracens at Vicarage Road today having dropped into the danger zone following a string of defeats. "Two bonus points from our last five matches is an unsatisfactory return for all the hard work put in, not just by the squad but by everyone at the club," said the Exiles' coach Gary Gold.

Saracens, unbeaten in their last four Premiership games, are unchanged while Irish have drafted in Justin Bishop for Sackey and recalled the Scotland hooker Robbie Russell to face his former club.

The England captain Jason Robinson has defended his international and club colleague Charlie Hodgson, whose missed kicks were blamed by many critics for last Sunday's Six Nations defeat by France. Hodgson landed three penalties and a conversion in Sale's 19-10 home win over Leeds on Friday night, after which Robinson said: "Everything has been blown out of all proportion with Charlie. All he's done is miss a few kicks and all of a sudden he's a villain. Charlie's a very talented player and he's one of the best 10s in the country, if not the world. He missed a couple of kicks last week but tonight he's shown just how good he is."

Andy Keast, fresh from Worcester's success over relegation rivals Harlequins yesterday, has added his voice to the claims of prop Chris Horsman to take over the England tight-head spot from the injured Phil Vickery. "In May Chris becomes qualified for Wales," the Worcester coach said. "If they don't want him to slip through the net England had better move quickly."

The National League One leaders Exeter, thought to be implacably opposed to a £7m plot allegedly hatched by Premier-ship clubs to ring-fence themselves against relegation, won 36-25 at bottom club Orrell yesterday. Bristol kept up the pressure with a 23-0 victory at Pertemps Bees.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster