Saints star Lawes returns to reach significant milestone against Harlequins

BACK IN THE FRAME - Saints forwards Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood
BACK IN THE FRAME - Saints forwards Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood
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Courtney Lawes will make his 150th Saints appearance against Harlequins on Friday night after being named in the side for the first time since December.

The lofty lock returned to training this week after spending more than two months on the sidelines since injuring his ankle in the win over Leicester five days before Christmas.

And having been released by England on Tuesday, Lawes is able to take his place in the Saints starting 15 and reach a significant milestone in the process.

The 26-year-old Academy graduate made his Northampton debut as a replacement in a National League One game against Esher back in 2007.

And he has since gone on to become a key member of a Saints side that has claimed Aviva Premiership, Challenge Cup and LV= Cup glory in recent seasons.

Lawes’s inclusion in the side to face Quins at Franklin’s Gardens is the only change from the 21-13 win at Bath last weekend.

James Craig drops out as he is undertaking concussion protocols after picking up a head injury in the first half of the game at The Rec.

But Tom Wood is available to take his place on the bench, returning to the squad for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in the defeat to Racing Metro on January 24.

Meanwhile, Quins have suffered a blow with England scrum-half Danny Care ruled out of the trip to the Gardens with a calf strain.

Karl Dickson, brother of Saints No.9 Lee, is the man to replace Care.

Centre Tom Casson misses out due to concussion, with Harry Sloan named at inside centre, while new signing Netani Talei starts at No.8.

Saints: Wilson; K Pisi, G Pisi; Stephenson, Elliott; Myler, Dickson (c); A Waller, Haywood, Denman; Lawes, Day; Manoa, Clark, Dickinson.

Replacements: Williams, Corbisiero, Mercey, Wood, Dowson, Fotuali’i, Olver, Tuala.

Harlequins: Monye; Yarde, Hopper, Sloan, Walker; Evans, Dickson; Lambert, Ward, Sinckler; Matthews, Robson (c); Clifford, Wallace, Talei.

Replacements: Buchanan, Marfo, Shields, Twomey, Trayfoot, Tebaldi, Botica, Lindsay-Hague.