Guinness Premiership - Game of the Week
Saints looking to pounce on weakened Tigers
October 29, 2009
New England call-up Richard Blaze has been released to play for Leicester © Getty Images
Northampton travel to Welford Road buoyed by a 21-13 defeat of Sale and encouraged by a depleted and injury-ravaged Leicester line-up.
Saints stalwart Bruce Reihana starred with a man of the match performance before insisting his team would need to be more disciplined in their approach against their local rivals at Welford Road.
The injury-plagued champions, who already have star players Geordan Murphy, Toby Flood, Sam Vesty and Alesana Tuilagi sidelined will also have to do without Dan Hipkiss, Tom Croft, George Chuter and Lewis Moody due to England international commitments. But Ben Kay and Richard Blaze have been released to play.
All Blacks centre Aaron Mauger returns to the line-up to take the place of Dan Hipkiss while Mefin Davies returns from injury to complete an all-international front row with Marcos Ayerza and Martin Castrogiovanni.
Blaze partners Ben Kay at lock, Geoff Parling moves into the back-row, alongside Ben Pienaar and Brett Deacon.
Saints, likewise, will have to face Leicester without Dylan Hartley, Shane Geraghty and Courtney Lawes because of England duty. Last week's results kept Northampton fourth in the table, three points clear of Leicester, who lost 18-12 at London Irish.
Stephen Myler steps in to cover at fly-half in place of Geraghty, with Phil Dowson wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Hartley. The Saints were able to call on a strong lineup, with the in-form centre partnership of Jon Clarke and James Downey selected to start. They were however late on Friday forced into a change as Ben Foden was suddenly made unavailable by England.
Northampton said in a statement: "Further to the Northampton Saints team announcement made earlier today (Friday), the club has announced that Ben Foden has not now been released from England duty and has therefore been made unavailable by the RFU for the trip to Welford Road."
The forced change sees Bruce Reihana moves from wing to fullback, with Paul Diggin taking the No. 11 shirt.
Leicester Tigers: Hamilton, Amorosino, Allen, Mauger (capt), Murphy, Staunton, Grindal; Ayerza, Davies, Castrogiovanni, Blaze, Kay, Parling, Pienaar, Deacon
Replacements: Youngs, Cole, Stankovich, Green, Hemingway, Youngs, Forsyth, Hurrell
Northampton: Reihana; Ashton, Clarke, Downey, Diggin, Myler, Dickson; Dreyer, Sharman, Tonga'uiha, Cannon, Day, Dowson (capt), Best, Wilson
Replacements: Gray, Waller, Vickers, Easter, Gray, Dickens, Everitt, Ansbro
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success