Dorian West admits in-form Saints may opt to rest some senior stars for Saturday’s LV= Cup semi-final clash with Saracens.
With the club still in pursuit of three trophies, including the Aviva Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup, and international players still away, the coaches are keen to keep men fresh.
And with some of the squad’s youngsters staking their claim for inclusion, Saints, who have won 12 successive games in all competitions, could use this weekend’s game to rotate.
Saracens could also leave key men out for the game at Franklin’s Gardens, as they also have the Premiership to consider, along with a Heineken Cup quarter-final at Ulster on the horizon.
And Northampton forwards coach West said: “The LV= Cup is slightly different that it’s a chance to get some of the younger lads playing while some of the internationals are away, and some of our more senior players have played a lot and need a rest.
“It’s one of those situations where it takes a lot of doing, picking a side for this weekend. You’re mindful of all the factors, but you know it’s still a semi-final and one you want to win. It’s quite a difficult selection.”
But West and his fellow Saints coaches will have no qualms about bringing youngsters into the team, with the recent success of Academy products such as Tom Stephenson and Will Hooley a glowing example of the players coming into the side and performing at the top level.
“We’re really pleased,” said West. “The Academy staff are doing a really good job and we’ve got a lot of genuine options now to fit into the team. It makes it quite seamless.”