Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan yesterday criticised the England head coach Andy Robinson over his treatment of the West Country club's 20-year-old centre Anthony Allen.
"Two weeks ago Anthony was elevated to an international and now he's back here with us," Ryan said after his side's 27-21 win over Wasps. "That's disappointing. I'd like to see him back in there and the conversations we had with England were that if they were going to pick him they had to stick with him, and they haven't."
Ryan, not usually one to look on the bright side if something to be scowled at suggests itself, chose not to trumpet Allen's undimmed club form after the diminutive 20-year-old back, who played, and struggled, in the national side's 40-21 loss to New Zealand and 25-18 defeat by Argentina, scored a fine solo try in front of a sell-out crowd. He also formed a successful centre-pairing with the World Cup winner Mike Tindall, making his first start of the season after injury.
James Haskell, a young flanker rated by his club back-row colleague Lawrence Dallaglio, and thus by anyone else with an ounce of rugby knowledge, opened the scoring for Wasps. Mark van Gisbergen converted, but the former Otago fly-half Willie Walker had kicked Gloucester ahead by the time the wing James Bailey scored the home side's first try, after 56 minutes. Shortly after that, Allen picked up a loose ball and beat Dave Walder and Ed Thrower in a race to the line. Walker's boot cancelled out a try by the Wasps hooker Joe Ward, and a late Van Gisbergen penalty ensured a losing bonus point for the visitors.
At Franklin's Gardens there was cheering news as an event - Andy Farrell's first Premiership try - that has recently seemed as remote as an England win also came to pass. On his second senior start at inside-centre, the former Great Britain prop helped Saracens to a 35-13 win against Northampton, breaking two tackles in the 29th minute to score his try and providing the kind of tactical kicking display his sponsors dreamt of back in the mists of time, before the onset of his infamous toe, knee, back and knowing-one's-posterior-from-one's-elbow-in-a-game-of-union problems began.
Two of Saracens' imports provided their side's first points, after a second-minute try from Saints' New Zealand-born Hong Kong international, Vaughan Going, converted by an ex-All Black, Carlos Spencer. Saracens' former-Springbok scrum-half, Neil de Kock, scored his side's first try and the New Zealand Maori fly-half Glen Jackson converted. Jackson converted Farrell's try and another Englishman, the flanker Hugh Vyvyan, scored a third before half-time which was also improved by the Kiwi. Two tries from the young No 8 Ben Skirving out-pointed two Johnny Howard penalties, and a perfect kicking return from Jackson closed the game out.
At Welford Road the wing Tom Varndell scored twice to help Leicester beat London Irish 26-18. The Tigers, missing 15 players to injury and Test calls but still leaving out last season's England scrum-half, Harry Ellis, had their fly-half Ian Humphreys to thank for 16 points that cancelled out Shane Geraghty's six penalties for the Exiles.Reuse content