Round-Up: Flood manages wind to fire Falcons to victory over Hodgson and Sale

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The Independent Online

With speculation linking either Toby Flood or Charlie Hodgson with a call to replace the injured Jamie Noon in Nantes, the Newcastle man was the clear winner in the Premiership match at Kingston Park yesterday.

Flood laid on two of his side's four tries in a 33-12 victory over Sale and kicked two penalties, two conversions and a drop goal. The Falcons' director of rugby, John Fletcher, said: "On today's performance Toby played better than Charlie."

The wind was the deciding factor in the game, and as Fletcher said: "We decided not to move it around because of the weather and we managed the wind a lot better than them."

Sixteen second-half points gave the champions, Leicester, the perfect start to the defence of their crown at the Memorial Stadium. Richard Hill's Bristol side exceeded all expectations to finish third last season, but there was no repeat of April's 30-13 home defeat of the Tigers.

Andy Farrell is being starved of options by England, according to his Saracens coach, Alan Gaffney. Gaffney spoke out after his team's 29-19 Twickenham win over Wasps on Saturday, a day which also saw wins for Harlequins, 35-27 over London Irish, and Bath, 29-15 at home to Worcester,

Gaffney said: "I think 'Faz' has a lot more to offer. Andy Farrell isn't going to run 10.2 seconds for the 100 metres. But he brings a lot to the table and we have to take advantage of what he does best.

"He's got fantastic peripheral vision and he plays the game on the line. But, taking the ball to the line, he's got to have options open – and that's one of the things that's not happening at the moment in the national team. He has no options."