Preview: Leeds v Northampton

Date published: April 2 2010

Leeds Carnegie have named their side for this Saturday's vital Guinness Premiership clash with high-flying Northampton at Headingley.

Leeds Carnegie have named their side for this Saturday's vital Guinness Premiership clash with high-flying Northampton at Headingley.

Samoan international Alfie To'oala will start at number eight in place of Rhys Oakley who is amongst the replacements.

Scott Mathie retains his place at scrum-half whilst young fly half Joe Ford is back amongst the replacements after missing last week's 19-0 defeat at Gloucester with a back injury that ruled him out in the pre-match warm up.

Meanwhile, visiting Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that it will be a tough game and that the Saints team will have to be on top form against a Leeds outfit whose recent form has seen them rise several places in the Guinness Premiership table.

“Leeds have beaten some good teams at home in the past month,” he said.

“Andy Key and Neil Back have put together a very competitive team that is now settled in the Premiership. They have a solid core of experience, some good young talent and players coming back from injury. They will certainly ask us plenty of questions.

“We did not reach the standards we set ourselves against Wasps last week and all of the players have worked hard in training to try to get us back to the form of previous weeks. No one is looking any further ahead that achieving a positive result at Leeds on Saturday afternoon.”

Form: The last five encounters between the two sides in the Guinness Premiership have all been won by the home team on the day, whilst the Saints have not won on Leeds turf since 2 May 2004. Leeds Carnegie's three game winning run came to an abrupt halt at Gloucester on Saturday. The Yorkshiremen are going for a third successive Guinness Premiership victory at Headingley Carnegie, something they have not achieved since season 2005/06. Northampton Saints' only defeat in any Guinness Premiership match since the end of October was 6-13 at Harlequins on 20 February. The Saints have won three of their last four away games in the Premiership.

The teams:

Leeds Carnegie: 15 Leigh Hinton, 14 Henry Fa'afili, 13 Seru Rabeni, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Lee Blackett, 10 CeironThomas, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Marco Wentzel (capt), 4 Erik Lund, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Mike Macdonald.
Replacements: 16 Vili Ma'asi, 17 Gareth Hardy, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Calum Clark, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Joe Bedford, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Richard Welding.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Phil Dowson (capt), 6 Mark Easter, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Brian Mujati.
Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Soane Tonga'uiha, 19 James Cannon, 20 Neil Best, 21 Alan Dickens, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jon Clarke.

Date: Saturday, April 3
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Headingley Carnegie