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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but few onlookers would have found this top-of-the-table clash more absorbing than Bath v Wasps the previous evening. All, that is, except the England head coach, Eddie Jones, who may well have regarded this as a telling yardstick of the new year form of a few of his potential national squad candidates.

Jones, it seems, was not among those who relished the free-wheeling 11-try bonanza at the Rec on Friday – “terrible” was his disapproving verdict – and this altogether grittier contest was indeed closer in spirit to the trench warfare of the Autumn Nations Cup. On a cold, raw afternoon, it was certainly one to separate the fair weather types from the tough nuts.

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