Martin Crowson's five key points: And here's another thing about weekend's rugby
Martin Crowson looks back at five key points from the weekend's rugby action.
1 What a difference a week makes. Last week in the post-game press conference at Twickenham after England's loss to South Africa, there were the first serious rumblings about the management of Stuart Lancaster. Seven days later, after a truly remarkable win over New Zealand and Lancaster, quite rightly, was smiling like a Cheshire cat. England were superb and battered the seemingly unbeatable Kiwis in every facet of the game. It was a wonderful day to be an England fan.
2 As well as marvelling at the style of England's victory on Saturday, it was also worth a look at an astonishing stat from the contest. While the Kiwis starting XV boasted a record number of caps for New Zealand with 789, England's winning team had just 208 Test caps between them.
3 It will have gone largely unnoticed on Saturday amidst the flurry of yellow and red cards but Bath's replacement hooker was Brett Sharman, who Northampton released mid-contract in August because of a "long-standing knee injury". His contract was terminated, coincidentally, just 24 hours after the club held an investigation into a controversial tweet he made about Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, which did the front-rower no favours at all. Saints maintained this had nothing to do with his departure from Franklin's Gardens. Congratulations therefore, Mr Sharman, on your recovery.
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4 All's well that ends well – or so they say. Leicester's win and dominant performance over Bath on Saturday once again made light of their England contingent being away for crucial Aviva Premiership games. The New Zealand fixture was an extra game put on to the end of the officially allocated three-week autumn international period. It will have made the Rugby Union lots of money too. It could have potentially cost Leicester a place in the play-offs. One day, this ridiculous situation of playing league games in an international window will catch up with Leicester.
5 Meanwhile, in deepest, darkest Oxford, London Welsh's incredible season continued with victory over London Irish. Having been completely written off by all and sundry, including myself, Lyn Jones' side have won four of their 10 games and are now 13 points clear of bottom side Sale Sharks. They have won the same amount of games as Wasps, one less than Bath and only two less than Exeter, Gloucester and Leicester. I tip my hat to the Welsh.