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Preview: Northampton v Leinster

06th December 2013 07:58

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George North AVP 2013

George North: Back for Saints

Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder has made four changes to his team for Saturday's Heineken Cup encounter with Leinster.

James Wilson returns to the side at full-back, with George North coming onto the wing after the completion of his commitments with Wales.

Up front Courtney Lawes partners Samu Manoa in the second row with Phil Dowson coming in on the flank.

Meanwhile, Brian O'Driscoll will resume his midfield partnership with Gordon D'Arcy with Ian Madigan continuing at fly-half alongside Eoin Reddan who is in line to make his 89th Leinster appearance and his 307th career appearance (52 caps - Ireland, 125 - London Wasps, 29 - Munster and 12 - Connacht). Luke Fitzgerald joins the Kearney brothers Dave and Rob in the back three.

Jamie Heaslip leads the team and the Naas man is named in the back-row alongside Sean O'Brien and Rhys Ruddock who will win his 69th Leinster cap in Northampton.

Devin Toner returns to the second row after his involvement with Ireland over the recent international series and will partner Mike McCarthy, with Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross - who now lies six appearances shy of the century mark for Leinster - completing the pack.

Leo Cullen continues his recent return to action and is one of a further four Ireland internationals on the bench alongside Kiwi out-half Jimmy Gopperth and South African Zane Kirchner.

The teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Diickson, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Christian Day, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Jamie Elliott.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Zane Kirchner.

Date: Saturday December 7
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Kick-off: 18:00 (local and GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell, Jonathan Mason (both Wales)
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales)

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