Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder feels Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes have given England head coach Stuart Lancaster a selection dilemma after they inspired Saints to a six-try demolition of London Irish.
England take on Italy next weekend and Mallinder feels Hartley and Lawes’ performances in the 40-14 win could have forced Lancaster to think again after he released the pair for the clash against the Exiles.
Opposite number and former England attack coach Brian Smith described Hartley as a “talisman” for the Saints pack, and Mallinder added: “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.”