Lawes returns as Saints prepare to take on champions Quins


Saints have recalled Courtney Lawes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership showdown with reigning champions Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens (ko 3.15pm).

Lawes replaces Calum Clark in the second row in the only change to the team which beat Ulster 10-9 in the Heineken Cup in Belfast last Saturday evening.

GJ van Velze has recovered from the injury he suffered in the first half at Ravenhill and retains his place, while Dom Waldouck returns to the replacements bench.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has called on his Saints players to prove that the win over Ulster was not a flash in the pan.

“We enjoyed last Saturday’s result, but all the chat in the dressing room was about taking the momentum into tomorrow’s game against Harlequins,” said Mallinder.

“This has been reflected in the attitude in training this week, which has been both intense and positive.

“We all know that Harlequins will pose us plenty of challenges. They are on a good run of form at the moment in all competitions and have shown regularly that they have the temperament and ability to win on the biggest stage.

“But we know we can win the big games, too, and are determined to give our fans something to sing about on Saturday.”

Supporters should note that Saturday’s game will be preceded by a minute’s silence for David Tait, the former Sale and England Under-20 forward who died last week.

Saints team to play Harlequins, Aviva Premiership, Franklin’s Gardens, Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 (3.15pm): Ben Foden; Ken Pisi, George Pisi, Tom May, Jamie Elliott; Stephen Myler, Lee Dickson; Soane Tonga’uiha, Mike Haywood, Paul Doran-Jones, Samu Manoa, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Phil Dowson, GJ Van Velze. Replacements: Ross McMillan, Alex Waller, Brian Mujati, Mark Sorenson, Calum Clark, Martin Roberts, Ryan Lamb, Dom Waldouck