Jim Mallinder says Saints’ Six Nations stars were ‘outstanding’ last weekend - and the director of rugby is happy to see some of his club’s youngsters shining in their absence.
George North was on target for Wales in their win against France last Friday, while Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Luther Burrell and Lee Dickson helped England beat Ireland a day later.
Meanwhile, the men left at Saints headed north to claim a 22-16 win in tricky conditions at Newcastle Falcons.
Fledgling centre Tom Stephenson, who is just 19 years of age, grabbed his first senior try in the victory at Kingston Park.
So, all in all, it was a good weekend for Mallinder and Northampton.
“I was delighted with our international players,” said the Saints boss.
“I thought George North had a really good game and watching England on Saturday, all our lads were outstanding.
“It was a really good 80-minute performance and a good win.
“In international periods it’s all about us winning and continuing with that momentum.
“For the young lads it’s ideal. They’re playing games and doing really well while the international players are away.”
And on Stephenson, whose try was one to savour, Mallinder said: “He’s playing well for us for now.
“What these players need is opportunities.
“He’s played a couple of times for the (England) Under 20s and did well for them and now he’s stepped in and is doing really well for us.”