Saints make 12 changes for derby date at Leicester

WEEK OFF - Stephen Myler has been left out of the Saints team to play at Leicester
WEEK OFF - Stephen Myler has been left out of the Saints team to play at Leicester

Saints have made a massive 12 changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership derby at Leicester Tigers.

There is no place in the matchday 23 for Stephen Myler, Luther Burrell, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Ken Pisi, George Pisi, Calum Clark or Samu Manoa, while skipper Dylan Hartley, Christian Day, Gareth Denman and Alex Waller all start from the bench.

It is a big call from director of rugby Jim Mallinder, who knows that his team are already guaranteed top spot in the table and a home semi-final in next weekend’s play-offs.

Phil Dowson skippers the team in what will be his final regular season game for the club, while James Wilson starts at fly-half.

Tom Stephenson, James Wilson, Alex Corbisiero, Mike Haywood, Salesi Ma’afu, Sam Dickinson and Jon Fisher all step up from the bench from last week’s win over London Welsh and into the starting 15, with Dom Waldouck, Tom Collins, Teimana Harrison and James Craig all coming into the matchday 23.

Meanwhile, Ed Slater and Christian Loamanu are included in the Leicester line-up, with both making their first league starts of the season.

Club captain Slater returned from long-term injury as a second-half replacement in last week’s win over Wasps last Saturday and replaces Geoff Parling who suffered a rib injury at the Ricoh Arena.

Loamanu replaces the suspended Seremaia Bai, lining up alongside Mathew Tait at centre.

Harry Thacker, Sebastian de Chaves and Jack Roberts are named among the replacements.

Tigers need to win to guarantee a place in the top four and the play-offs.

The game is being shown live on BT Sport 1, with coverage beginning at 3pm. Kick-off is 3.30pm

Saints team to play Leicester: Ahsee Tuala; Jamie Elliott, Dom Waldouck, Tom Stephenson, Tom Collins; James Wilson, Lee Dickson; Alex Corbisiero, Mike Haywood, Salesi Ma’afu, Sam Dickinson, James Craig. Phil Dowson, Teimana Harrison, Jon Fisher. Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Alex Waller, Gareth Denman, Christian Day, Ben Nutley, Kahn Fotuali’i, Sam Olver, Howard Packman.

Leicester team: Niall Morris; Vereniki Goneva, Mathew Tait, Christian Loamanu, Adam Thompstone; Freddie Burns, Ben Youngs; Logovi’i Mulipola, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Brad Thorn, Graham Kitchener, Ed Slater, Julian Salvi, Jordan Crane. Replacements: Harry Thacker, Marcos Ayerza, Fraser Balmain, Sebastian De Chaves, Jamie Gibson, Sam Harrison, Tommy Bell, Jack Roberts