Mallinder makes long-awaited Saints return against Benetton

Harry Mallinder has not played for Saints since suffering an injury against Clermont Auvergne in October 2018
Harry Mallinder has not played for Saints since suffering an injury against Clermont Auvergne in October 2018

Harry Mallinder will start on the wing as he makes his first Saints appearance for 15 months on Sunday.

Mallinder has not played for the first team since suffering a serious knee injury in a Challenge Cup clash with Clermont Auvergne in October 2018.

But after making a successful return to action for the Wanderers in recent weeks, the 23-year-old has got the call to face Benetton at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday.

Mallinder comes in for Tom Collins, who will miss the games against Benetton and Lyon due to suspension following his red card at the Ricoh Arena last weekend.

Fraser Dingwall replaces Piers Francis, who came off with concussion against Wasps, meaning Rory Hutchinson moves to inside centre.

Taqele Naiyaravoro, who scored a dramatic winning try late on last Sunday, comes in for Ahsee Tuala on the wing.

James Grayson is in for the rested Dan Biggar, while Henry Taylor replaces Cobus Reinach, who is given a breather on the bench.

In the pack, Alex Waller, Mike Haywood, Alex Moon and Tom Wood are rested.

Francois van Wyk, Sam Matavesi, Api Ratuniyarawa and Lewis Ludlam come in.

Ben Franks and James Fish are back from injury and ready to make their return from the bench.

Matt Proctor misses out with concussion, along with long-term absentees Alex Mitchell (knee), Jamie Gibson (ankle) and Reuben Bird-Tulloch (hand).

Saints: Furbank; Mallinder, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Naiyaravoro; Grayson, Taylor; van Wyk, Matavesi, Hill; Ratuniyarawa, Ribbans; Lawes, Ludlam, Harrison (c).
Replacements: Fish, B Franks, O Franks, Coles, Eadie, Reinach, Symons, Sleightholme.

Benetton Rugby: Hayward; Sarto, Benvenuti, Sgarbi (c), Ioane; Allan, Duvenage; Quaglio, Faiva, Pasquali; Zanni, Ruzza; Lazzaroni, Pettinnelli, Barbini.
Replacements: Makelara, Zani, Traore, Snyman, Fuser, Trussardi, Rizzi, Zanon.