Eddie Jones busy scouting English rugby

Northampton’s national contingent failed to make an impression as new England rugby coach Eddie Jones resumed his busy pre-Christmas scouting tour of Premiership clubs.

Jones, who visits Wasps and Leicester over the next two days of European action, was present at Franklin’s Gardens to watch Saints’ hopes of reaching the Champions Cup knockout phase dented by a dour 9-9 draw with Racing Metro.

The most frustrated of those hoping to catch his eye must have been Kieran Brookes, the in-form tighthead who limped off just before the half-hour mark.

Luther Burrell made little headway against Racing’s midfield and his game does not fit the mould of playmaking 12 favoured by Jones, while lock Courtney Lawes was inconspicuous throughout.

Tom Wood was missing with a shoulder injury and there was nothing from fringe contenders Ben Foden, Stephen Myler and Lee Dickson to argue for their return to the Red Rose fold.

Dylan Hartley continues to be sidelined by concussion and, with a date for his return yet to be the set, the hooker is running out of time to demonstrate why he has been identified by Jones as Chris Robshaw’s successor as England captain.

Racing cemented their place at the summit of pool three through three penalties from New Zealand’s Dan Carter, whose right leg was heavily strapped, and the Parisians still have a game in hand on closest rivals Northampton.

Myler kicked all of Saints’ points in a poor spectacle full of attrition and grunt, but lacking in quality.

Northampton’s former South African lock Victor Matfield was prominent early with a couple of runs in wide channels, but it was an otherwise dismal first half that was short on highlights.

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