Brown and Marler boost Quins
February 17, 2012
Mike Brown is back from England duty © Getty Images
England duo Mike Brown and Joe Marler will start for Harlequins in their Aviva Premiership clash with Worcester this weekend.
The Quins pair have been released from England duty for the match at the Stoop, which is live on ESPN this Saturday. Winger Ugo Monye also returns to the starting XV after missing last weekend's victory over London Irish with an injury picked up whilst on England Saxons duty.
Outside centre George Lowe makes his first start since suffering an injury in November, and partners Tom Casson in midfield, while Nick Evans and Danny Care continue their half-back partnership. The forwards are unchanged, apart from the inclusion of Marler and hooker Chris Brooker. Fly-half Danny Gray makes his first start for Worcester with Joe Carlisle and Andy Goode both out injured.
Courtney Lawes will hope to strengthen his case for an international recall when Northampton Saints take on Sale Sharks at Franklins Gardens on Saturday. The England lock, who was released from Stuart Lancaster's squad to build up his match fitness, moves into the back-row alongside international team-mate Callum Clark, who skippers the side, and No.8 Roger Wilson. Sale Sharks include Wales No.8 Andy Powell in their back-row in what could be a prelude to one of the match-ups at Twickenham next weekend when Wales face England.
Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder confirmed during the week that he turned down the opportunity to apply for the England head coach role and is now determined to lead Northampton towards some silverware this season.
"Because the Aviva Premiership table is so close at the moment every game is massively important," he said. "We got a losing bonus point away from home last week but it's a home game for us tomorrow and we need to win it."
Leicester Tigers once again include England pair Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi in their starting XV to tackle Saracens at Vicarage Road. Samoa international prop Logoviii Mulipol is given his first start for the Tigers in hte absence of Dan Cole, Martin Castrogiovanni and Julian White. Craig Newby is included on the bench as he continues his recovery from injury. Saracens include Schalk Brits and Neil de Kock in their starting XV.
Gloucester are boosted by the return of Scotland internationals Jim Hamilton and Scott Lawson for their derby against Bath at the Rec on Saturday. They are the only changes to the team that beat Northampton last weekend. Nathan Catt and Stuart Hooper start for Bath as they look to follow up their bonus-point victory over Newcastle last time out.
Elsewhere Newcastle Falcons make one change for their match with London Irish with Tom Bedford starting for the first time since his move from Bedford Blues in the absence of Suka Hufanga, who will be out for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury. Nick Kennedy skippers Irish while Max Lahiff and Jonathan Spratt start.
Wales international Tom Prydie starts for Wasps against fifth-placed Exeter Chiefs with Riki Flutey ruled out through injury. Joe Simpson, Rob Webber and Paul Emerick are all included on the bench.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler