Van Velze return a boost for Saints ahead of Exeter trip

GJ van Velze is set to return to the Saints squad for Saturday’s trip to Exeter.

And there is also positive news on the fitness of wing Ken Pisi and tighthead prop Brian Mujati, who are recovering well from their injury problems.

Van Velze has been out since injuring his shoulder in the 18-12 Heineken Cup victory against Castres on January 11.

But the South African No.8 is ready to return as Saints look to make the LV= Cup semi-finals with a victory at Sandy Park.

“He’ll be back in contention,” confirmed Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder. “He got a bit of a shoulder knock a couple of weeks ago.

“He could have probably played last weekend, but we thought it was probably best to keep him back an extra week and he’s raring to go for Saturday.”

But the game appears to have come too soon for Pisi and Mujati.

The Samoan wide man suffered an ankle knock in the win at Exeter on January 5, while Mujati was forced off in the defeat to Saracens on December 31, with a calf injury.

“They’re two of our longer termers and they’re slowly coming back to fitness,” said Mallinder.

“They’re both doing quite well and jogging now so that’s really good to see.

“I don’t think they’ll be fit enough to start at the weekend but they’re getting there.

“We’ll swap things round a little bit and give people a rest and bring in a few of the other players, but generally it will be the same squad that started last week.”