Wilson returns for first Saints start of the season

WELCOME RETURN - James Wilson makes his first start of the season for Saints on Saturday
WELCOME RETURN - James Wilson makes his first start of the season for Saints on Saturday
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James Wilson will make his first start of the season in Saints’ Aviva Premiership clash with London Irish at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Wilson comes in for Samoan wing Ken Pisi, who was forced off with an injury at half-time in last weekend’s 27-23 win at Harlequins.

The Kiwi utility back has not started since suffering an arm injury last season’s Premiership play-off defeat to Saracens at the Gardens.

He was forced to have surgery to rectify the problem, but returned to first-team action from the bench in the January 29 defeat to Wasps and impressed after replacing Pisi at The Stoop last Saturday.

He will now line up on the wing as Saints bid to make it back-to-back league wins and cut the seven-point gap to fourth-placed Quins.

George Pisi returns to the squad, taking Wilson’s place on the bench.

London Irish have a couple of former Saints players in their squad, with Shane Geraghty starting at fly-half and centre Dom Waldouck among the replacements.

Irish, who beat Saints 25-23 at the Madejski Stadium on Boxing Day, have made one change to the team that beat Worcester Warriors last weekend, with Johnny Williams coming in for the injured Aseli Tikoirotuma.

Saints: Foden; Elliott, Burrell, Mallinder, Wilson; Myler, Dickson; A Waller, Haywood, Brookes; Craig, Day; Gibson, Wood, Dickinson.

Replacements: Marshall, E Waller, Denman, Matfield, Harrison, Kessell, Hanrahan, G Pisi.

London Irish: Fenby; Ojo, Mulchrone, Williams, Hearn; Geraghty, Steele; Court, Paice, Aulika; Symons, Lloyd; Sinclair, Narraway, McCusker.

Replacements: Ellis, Smallbone, Halavatau, Nagle, Treviranus, Allinson, Brophy-Clews, Waldouck.