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Australian centre Rob Horne leads Saints for the first time (Getty Images)

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.

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
Kick-off: 3pm  

TIGERS   SAINTS

15 Telusa Veainu
14 Adam Thompstone
13 Matt Smith
12 Matt Toomua
11 Jonny May
10 George Ford
9 Sam Harrison

1 Ellis Genge
2 Tom Youngs (c)
3 Dan Cole
4 Mike Fitzgerald
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Valentino Mapapalangi
7 Luke Hamilton
8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements:
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
17 Greg Bateman
18 Logovi’i Mulipola
19 Harry Wells
20 Will Evans
21 Ben Youngs
22 George Worth
23 Jonah Holmes

 

15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Ben Foden
13 Rob Horne (capt)
12 Piers Francis
11 George North
10 Stephen Myler
9 Cobus Reinach

1 Campese Ma’afu
2 Mikey Haywood
3 Paul Hill
4 Api Ratuniyarawa
5 James Craig
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Teimana Harrison
8 Mitch Eadie

Replacements:
16 Charlie Clare
17 Alex Waller
18 Ehren Painter
19 Michael Paterson
20 Ben Nutley
21 Alex Mitchell
22 Luther Burrell
23 Tom Collins

Injury update:
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.

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