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North makes successful return as Saints win at Gloucester

George North made his return to the Northampton Saints squad yesterday. Credit: PA
  • Gloucester 12-13 Northampton Saints

George North made a successful return to rugby yesterday as he helped his Northampton Saints side beat Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership.

The Welsh international showed no ill effects from the head injury that had seen him sidelined since early December and came through the match unscathed.

A dramatic late penalty try won the game for the Saints, who were trailing 12-6 with just seven minutes to go.

The victory lifted Jim Mallinder's men up to sixth in the Premiership ahead of their game against bottom-of-the-table Bristol next Saturday (January 7).

North missing from Northampton squad to face Sale

North won't play against Sale. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints have decided against selecting George North for their Premiership clash against Sale tomorrow night.

It was thought the 24-year-old would be involved at Franklin's Gardens but he hasn't made the 23-man squad.

Northampton were told yesterday they won't face any sanctions following an investigation into the Welsh international's recent head injury against Leicester.

George North has both trained with the squad and undergone a specialist review this week.

All parties have agreed that North continue with a full training schedule with the rest of the club’s players to ensure he is fully prepared for first team action.

– Northampton Saints statement
  • Northampton Saints team to face Sale Sharks

Ben Foden, Ken Pisi, Luther Burrell, JJ Hanrahan, Juan Pablo Estelles Stephen Myler, Nic Groom, Alex Waller, Mikey Haywood, Kieran Brookes, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Tom Wood (capt), Teimana Harrison, Louis Picamoles

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North expected to be cleared for Sale clash

George North could return against Sale. Credit: PA

George North could be in line to make his Northampton Saints comeback as early as Friday night.

The Welsh international fell awkwardly on his head following a tackle by Leicester's Adam Thompstone earlier this month.

Providing a specialist gives him the all clear, he's likely to be back in contention for the Saints' Premiership clash against Sale.

A Concussion Management Review Group is due to reveal the findings of their investigation into why North was allowed to play on against Leicester at some point tomorrow.

Northampton Saints sign Canadian prop Ilnicki

Jake Ilnicki. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints have signed Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki on a deal until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old was part of the Canada squad for last year's World Cup and featured in their recent autumn international against Ireland.

Ilnicki has played in New Zealand, Australia and America so far in his career and will make his Saints 'A' team debut against Leicester tonight.

Cambridge men claim first Varsity win since 2009

Cambridge celebrate their win. Credit: PA
  • Cambridge University 23-18 Oxford University

Cambridge University's men's rugby team are celebrating their first win over Oxford since 2009.

The Light Blues ran out 23-18 winners in a thrilling game at Twickenham, with medical student Mike Phillips and centre Rory Triniman scoring their tries.

Cambridge have endured a terrible record in the recent Varsity matches between the sides, but this year's success means they've now managed 62 victories to Oxford's 59 in the 144-year-old fixture.

Earlier in the day, Oxford got the better of Cambridge in the women's game - winning a dull encounter 3-0.

Cambridge women's team beaten in Varsity clash

Cambridge were beaten by Oxford. Credit: PA
  • Cambridge University 0-3 Oxford University

Cambridge University's women's rugby team have been beaten by their Oxford counterparts in the annual Varsity match at Twickenham.

A dull game was settled by a single penalty from Catherine Wilcock as the Dark Blues ran out 3-0 winners.

Cambridge won the same fixture last year but couldn't follow up that success this time out.

The men's fixture will kick off at 14:30 with Cambridge aiming to end a six-year losing sequence.

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Wood keeps starting spot as England aim for record

Tom Wood will start against Australia. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints flanker Tom Wood has kept his place in the England team for their big game against Australia on Saturday.

He'll be joined by fellow forwards Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes in the starting XV, while Norfolk's Ben Youngs has also been named.

Teimana Harrison is on the bench.

A win for England at Twickenham would mean they'd end the year unbeaten - the only country to do so.

  • England team to play Australia

M Brown (Harlequins); M Yarde (Harlequins), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester)

M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), G Kruis (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps).

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