Horne to skipper Saints for East Midlands derby
Friday, April 13, 2018
Australian centre Rob Horne will lead out Northampton Saints for the very first time as the men in Black, Green and Gold take on fierce local rivals Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
Following a stunning 24-11 victory over Tigers at Franklin’s Gardens back in September, Saints are chasing their first season’s double over Leicester since the 2003/04 season.
Interim head coach Alan Dickens and technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney welcome two key Saintsmen back onto the bench from injury, as well as making five changes to the line-up that started last time out against Saracens.
😇 Your Derby Day Saints are... pic.twitter.com/p8QTkNdBdU— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) April 13, 2018
Ben Foden returns to the starting XV, with Wales international George North on the opposite wing and Ahsee Tuala at fullback to complete the back three.
Skipper Horne once again partners Piers Francis in the centres with No.10 Stephen Myler and scrum-half Cobus Reinach both also retained.
Mikey Haywood returns from injury at hooker with props Campese Ma’afu and Paul Hill either side of him, and Saints welcome back front-rower Alex Waller to the squad who will look to make an impact from the bench.
James Craig replaces the injured Christian Day in Northampton’s second row, partnering Api Ratuniyarawa, while No.8 Mitch Eadie also comes into the starting line-up – Teimana Harrison shifting to flanker with David Ribbans missing out through injury.
And there’s also room on the bench for returning centre Luther Burrell, who joins Alex Mitchell and Tom Collins amongst the replacements.
“There’s nothing bigger than a local derby, whether it be at Franklin’s Gardens or up the road at Leicester, to get the players going,” said Dickens.
“We’ve got to stick together as a team, and match Leicester physically. We responded in a big way from a defeat the last time we played Tigers, and the players put in an attritional performance at home.
“The players have looked at themselves hard this week, as our last performance was not a reflection of what we can do. We are certainly looking for a reaction.”
As Saturday’s game will be a 25,000 sell-out at Welford Road, supporters are encouraged to allow extra time to get through the turnstiles and into place ahead of a 3pm kick-off. Increased bag searches are in place at the turnstiles in accordance with ground regulations.
LEICESTER TIGERS v SAINTS
Aviva Premiership Rugby, Round 20
Welford Road Stadium
Saturday 14th April, 2018
15 Telusa Veainu
1 Ellis Genge
15 Ahsee Tuala
1 Campese Ma’afu
Tom Wood, Heinrich Brüssow, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Harry Mallinder, Christian Day, David Ribbans, Reece Marshall and Kieran Brookes are all unavailable for selection.