Mallinder makes three changes as Saints get set for Welsh test

BAD BREAK? - Tom Mercey is missing from the Saints 23 for Sunday's trip to London Welsh (Picture: Linda Dawson)
BAD BREAK? - Tom Mercey is missing from the Saints 23 for Sunday's trip to London Welsh (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Saints have made three changes to their starting line-up for Sunday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Oxford to take on bottom-of-the-table London Welsh.

Last time out a fortnight ago, Jim Mallinder’s men were embarrassed by Leicester Tigers at Franklin’s Gardens, but the director of rugby has opted against wholesale changes.

Indeed. two of the three changes to the team are throught to be have been forced upon Mallinder, with Tom Mercey and James Wilson both believed to have suffered injuries.

The Chron understands that prop Tom Mercey has suffered a broken bone in a hand which has ruled him out, while Wilson’s disappearance from the matchday 23 suggests he too has a problem.

The only other change sees Luther Burrell come into the centre in place of Tom May, who is dropped to the bench.

Calum Clark is fit again, but he too has to make do with a seat among the replacements.

Stephen Myler continues at fly-half, and he has called on his team-mates to put the Tigers debacle behind them, and concentrate on the task in hand at the Kassam Stadium.

Saints had won four in a row going into the Leicester game, and Myler admitted: “The Leicester game brought us back to earth with a bump.

“But we’ve got to put that past us and look positively forward to this game on Sunday.

“After a result like that you want to get back out there and put things right.

“But unlike in previous years we’ve had a bit of a break, and hopefully that will stand us in good stead for this Sunday and the other big games we’ve got coming up.

“Welsh aren’t where they want to be, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be a pushover.

“They’ve taken some good teams close this year, especially at home, and we’ve got to be a lot better than we were last time out if we’re going to get the win.

“We’ve got three games coming up now where we can hopefully secure a play-off spot, which is where we want to be.

“It’s in our own hands, which is a good thing, and we’re looking to up our game and come away with the vital points.”

Saints team to play London Welsh, Aviva Premiership Rugby, Kassam Stadium, Sunday, April 12, 2013 (ko 3pm): Ben Foden; Ken Pisi, George Pisi, Luther Burrell, Jamie Elliott; Stephen Myler, Lee Dickson; Soane Tonga’uiha, Dylan Hartley, Brian Mujati, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Tom Wood, Phil Dowson, Samu Manoa

Replacements: Mike Haywood, Alex Waller, Paul Doran-Jones, GJ Van Velze, Calum Clark, Martin Roberts, Ryan Lamb, Tom May