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.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn