Phil Dowson has named his side for the East Midlands Derby this Saturday, with Northampton Saints travelling to Leicester Tigers in Round 6 of the Gallagher Premiership.
As the league’s Derby Weekend rolls around, Saints make the short trip to Mattioli Woods Welford Road sitting in fourth place in the table after winning their last three league matches – including a 34-19 win over Exeter Chiefs last time out.
Both away sides prevailed in the clashes between Northampton and Leicester last season, with Saints defeating their Midlands rivals 19-18 when they last met in Leicester back in January.
The men in Black, Green and Gold will be going for back-to-back victories at Welford Road – a feat they have not achieved in the Premiership since 2019 – as Dowson makes six changes to the side that defeated Exeter Chiefs last time out.
Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns to lead the side out in Leicester, joining Tom Pearson and Alex Coles in the back row, while Chunya Munga partners Alex Moon in the engine room.
Trevor Davison starts at tighthead for Saints this weekend; he packs down alongside in-form duo Alex Waller and Curtis Langdon in Northampton’s front row.
Alex Mitchell and Fin Smith – who has scored more points than any other player across the Premiership so far this term – will look to pull the strings for Saints from the half-back berths, while Tommy Freeman is preferred in Northampton’s centres alongside Fraser Dingwall.
James Ramm returns from illness to start on the wing with George Hendy opposite him in the back three, while George Furbank completes the starting XV at fullback.
There is space on Saints’ bench for the likes of Sam Matavesi, Elliot Millar Mills, Tom James and Ollie Sleightholme – who will all hope to make an impact from amongst the replacements – while Rory Hutchinson is also set to notch up his 100th Premiership appearance, and Henry Pollock could also make his league debut if he enters the action.
LEICESTER TIGERS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership, Round 6
Saturday 18 November
Mattioli Woods Welford Road
15 George Furbank
14 George Hendy
13 Tommy Freeman
12 Fraser Dingwall
11 James Ramm
10 Fin Smith
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Alex Waller
2 Curtis Langdon
3 Trevor Davison
4 Alex Moon
5 Chunya Munga
6 Alex Coles
7 Tom Pearson
8 Lewis Ludlam (c)
16 Sam Matavesi
17 Ethan Waller
18 Elliot Millar Mills
19 Tom Lockett
20 Henry Pollock – Premiership debut
21 Tom James
22 Rory Hutchinson – 100th Premiership appearance
23 Ollie Sleightholme
Not available for selection:
Juarno Augustus, Sam Graham, Emmanuel Iyogun, Courtney Lawes, Temo Mayanavanua, Burger Odendaal, Tom Seabrook and Robbie Smith.
TIGERS TEAM TO FACE SAINTS:
15 Freddie Steward, 14 Josh Bassett, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 James Cronin, 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Joe Heyes, 4 Cameron Henderson, 5 Ollie Chessum, 6 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Jasper Wiese.
Replacements: 16 Archie Vanes, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Matt Rogerson, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Matt Scott.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referee: Jack Makepeace and Paul Dix
No. 4: Richard Gordon
TMO: Hamish Smales