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I am only guessing, but probably in the back of his mind those two would be on the bench for the Italy game. But with their performance today the pair of them really put their hands up for selection.
Quotes of the week
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder says Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes should be in England's starting line-up against Italy.
The pair were released by England coach Stuart Lancaster for club duty this weekend - normally a sign that they will not start in the next international.
But they were both immense in Saints' 40-14 hammering of London Irish and Mallinder thinks both of them should be in the starting XV against Italy.
Mallinder said: "I thought our two returning England lads were particularly impressive. Hartley and Lawes put their bodies on the line and were very, very good.
"Courtney has come back with a real determined attitude. He was frustrated from his performance for England against France, he is an honest guy, he doesn't hide away. But his work rate and physicality was immense today.
"I hope Stuart watches the game because then it will give him a few more selection headaches.
"I am only guessing, but probably in the back of his mind those two would be on the bench for the Italy game. But with their performance today the pair of them really put their hands up for selection.
"We are a good side and with everybody fit we are quite hard to beat. It is quite an unusual position for us, in the past few years we have been fighting on two or three fronts."
London Irish were just 14-9 down at half-time and coach Brian Smith admitted his side were blown away in the second half.
"They ran riot in the second half," said Smith. "We had a couple of scoring chances in the first half and we really needed to take them, we had to score at least twice from our trips to their 22 in the first half and we didn't do that.
"The second half is one we would rather forget. We messed up a simple exit just before half-time and gave them field position to score when we could have gone in leading.
"We turned the ball over 23 times today and we don't turn the ball over 23 times in a season.
"They had more than a points win up front and we didn't play all that well behind it either. When those two planets align like that it can get a bit messy on the scoreboard.
"You are always smarting after a defeat and after a defeat like that especially so."Aviva Premiership. Click here to bet.
|Friday 20th December|
|20:00||Sale Sharks vs London Irish|
|Saturday 21st December|
|15:00||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th December|
|TBC||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th December|
|15:00||Northampton vs Bath|
|15:00||Worcester vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Leicester vs Sale Sharks|
|Friday 3rd January|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 4th January|
|15:00||London Irish vs Worcester|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs Bath|
|Sunday 5th January|
|15:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Friday 7th February|
|19:45||Worcester vs Leicester|
|20:00||Sale Sharks vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 8th February|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||Bath vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|Sunday 9th February|
|15:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|Friday 14th February|
|20:00||Sale Sharks vs Saracens|
|Saturday 15th February|
|15:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Worcester|
|15:00||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 1st December|
|Newcastle 9 - 35 Harlequins|
|Saturday 30th November|
|Bath 21 - 16 Exeter|
|Worcester 10 - 33 Northampton|
|London Irish 12 - 19 Wasps|
|Saracens 24 - 19 Sale Sharks|
|Friday 29th November|
|Gloucester 17 - 22 Leicester|
|Sunday 24th November|
|Wasps 5 - 28 Bath|
|Saturday 23rd November|
|Northampton 18 - 0 Newcastle|
|Harlequins 27 - 19 Gloucester|
|Exeter 9 - 16 Saracens|
|Leicester 20 - 11 London Irish|
|Friday 22nd November|
|Sale Sharks 26 - 10 Worcester|
|Sunday 3rd November|
|Saracens 40 - 3 Newcastle|
|London Irish 14 - 19 Northampton|
|Saturday 2nd November|
|Leicester 16 - 23 Harlequins|
|Gloucester 30 - 32 Wasps|
|Friday 1st November|
|Sale Sharks 16 - 18 Exeter|
|Worcester 6 - 21 Bath|
|Sunday 27th October|
|Newcastle 13 - 11 London Irish|
|Wasps 22 - 12 Leicester|
|Saturday 26th October|
|Northampton 41 - 20 Saracens|
|Exeter 40 - 6 Worcester|
|Harlequins 24 - 3 Sale Sharks|
|Friday 25th October|
|Bath 15 - 13 Gloucester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com