Saints fly-half Myler overcomes calf injury to face Gloucester

READY FOR ACTION - Saints fly-half Stephen Myler
READY FOR ACTION - Saints fly-half Stephen Myler
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Stephen Myler has overcome a calf injury and will start for Saints in their Aviva Premiership opener against Gloucester at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.

The England fly-half had missed his club’s entire pre-season campaign, but is fit enough to take his place at 10 as Northampton begin their title defence.

Ben Foden, who twisted his ankle before the friendly against Newport-Gwent Dragons last week, is named on the bench, with James WIlson starting at 15.

With just Joel Hodgson and Jon Fisher recruited during the summer, the Saints side has a familiar feel to it, though versatile back rower Fisher could make his debut from the bench.

Lee Dickson is preferred to Kahn Fotuali’i at scrum-half, while Alex Corbisiero gets the nod over Alex Waller at loosehead.

With Sam Dickinson sidelined for three months after having neck surgery, Samu Manoa starts at No.8, with Christian Day joining Courtney Lawes in the second row.

Mike Haywood, Tom Collins (both shoulder), Hodgson (wrist) and Glenn Dickson (hip) are among the players still searching for full fitness after injury problems.

While Saints have named a similar side to the one that finished last season as champions, Gloucester bring a new-look line-up to Franklin’s Gardens.

Lions hooker Richard Hibbard and former All Blacks prop John Afoa add bulk to the front row as they make their Premiership debuts.

And there are also first competitive starts for Wales fly-half James Hook, Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw and former Leeds Carnegie flanker Jacob Rowan.

Gloucester, now under the guidance of David Humphreys, are without Gareth Evans, Matt Kvesic (both foot) and Nick Wood (back spasms).

Saints: Wilson; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, L Dickson; Corbisiero,Hartley (c), Ma’afu; Lawes, C Day; Clark, Wood, Manoa.

Replacements: McMillan, A Waller, Denman, Craig, Fisher, Fotuali’i, Hooley, Foden.

Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Trinder, Twelvetrees, May; Hook, Laidlaw; Murphy, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Hudson; Kalamafoni, Rowan, Morgan.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Thomas, Puafisi, Palmer, Moriarty, Robson, Atkinson, McColl.