Wood returns to skipper Saints against Stade

Tom Wood (left) is back to skipper Saints against Stade (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Tom Wood (left) is back to skipper Saints against Stade (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Captain Tom Wood returns to the Saints starting 15 for Friday's crucial clash with Stade Français at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 7.45pm).

Jamie Gibson drops to the bench in the only change to the team that beat Connacht 21-15 at the Gardens last Saturday.

Luther Burrell is fit enough to start after being forced off with a dead leg just 22 minutes into last weekend's game.

Saints need to beat Stade this week to secure Champions Cup qualification for next season.

But Jim Mallinder's men remain without Paul Hill (neck), Calum Clark (calf), Stephen Myler (knee), JJ Hanrahan (shoulder) and Jamie Elliott (shoulder).

David Ribbans is ineligible as Saints were not able to register him for the play-off matches.

Stade are without influential skipper Sergio Parisse, so Paul Gabrillagues captains the side from the second row.

Saints: Tuala; Foden, Tuitavake, Burrell, North; Mallinder, Groom; A Waller, Hartley, Brookes; Lawes, Day; Wood (c), Harrison, Picamoles.

Replacements: Haywood, Ma'afu, Denman, Ratuniyarawa, Gibson, Dickson, Olver, Hutchinson.

Stade Français: Camara; Vuidarvuwalu, Doumayrou, Danty, Sinzelle; Plisson, Genia; Zhvania, Bonfils, Alo Emile, Alberts, Gabrillagues (c), Burban, Lakafia, Ross.

Replacements: Burden, Slimani, Melikidze, De Giovanni, Macalou, Daguin, Steyn, Bosman.