Hartley returns on the bench as Saints gear up for Gloucester trip

Dylan Hartley has been named on the Saints' replacements bench for Saturday's match at Gloucester
Dylan Hartley has been named on the Saints' replacements bench for Saturday's match at Gloucester

Dylan Hartley is in line to make his first Saints appearance since January after being named on the bench for the trip to Gloucester on Saturday (kick-off 3.30pm).

Hartley has not played for his club since the Champions Cup win at Scarlets on January 23.

He went on to start all of England’s Six Nations games, skippering them to a Grand Slam.

But the 30-year-old was knocked unconscious during the second half of the final match, in France, and has been undertaking concussion protocols ever since.

He has now been deemed fit enough to feature this weekend, providing vital back-up to one of this season’s stars, Mike Haywood.

But Ben Foden again misses out due to the groin injury he picked up in the Champions Cup quarter-final defeat at Saracens last month.

Harry Mallinder is at full-back in an unchanged starting 15 from the one which battled back from 14-0 down to beat Bath 15-14 at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Gloucester will hand a full debut to 19-year-old Elliott Creed, who starts on the wing for the injury-hit side.

Tom Marshall returns at full-back having missed last week’s win at Sale Sharks, while England No.8 Ben Morgan comes in for Sione Kalamafoni.

Saints need to win this weekend to guarantee a top-six spot and a place in next season’s Champions Cup.

Eighth-placed Gloucester will be gunning for a bonus-point win that could help them overtake Sale to finish seventh.

That would be good enough for a place in the Champions Cup should Harlequins beat Montpellier in the Challenge Cup final.

Gloucester: Marshall; Thorley, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Creed; Laidlaw (c), Heinz; Thomas, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Thrush; Moriarty, Kvesic, Morgan.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Wood, Doran-Jones, Evans, Ludlow, Braley, Evans, Rowan.

Saints: Mallinder; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson (c); A Waller, Haywood, Brookes; Lawes, Day; Gibson, Wood, Harrison.

Replacements: Hartley, Ma’afu, Hill, Matfield, Nutley, Fotuali’i, Olver, Wilson.