Planet Rugby

Preview: Northampton v Leeds Carnegie

06th May 2011 11:29

Share:

Shane Geraghty

Given a start: Shane Geraghty

Northampton have announced a slightly weakened team for their Aviva Premiership clash with a desperate Leeds side at Franklin's Gardens.

The Round 22 clash sees Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder determined to avoid a Heineken hangover, which is why he has left in a handful of first-teamers.

Saints may have a place in the 2011 Heineken Cup final, but an Aviva Premiership Rugby play-off spot is far from certain. With Bath snapping at their heels in the chase for fourth place, the Saints need a positive result against Leeds if they are to progress into the post-season.

"It's a massive game for us tomorrow," Mallinder said.

"At the moment we still have things in our own hands, but the only way it will stay like that is if we get a positive result against Leeds.

"The players all know that and it hasn't been difficult to motivate them in training this week. We enjoyed the win over Perpignan, but when we came back to work this week all of the attention was focused on what we need to do to beat Leeds.

"They caused us plenty of problems when we played them at Headingley in March, and we know that they will be fighting for every point themselves. Our recent game at Kingston Park showed how difficult it can be to play a team in that position and we are prepared for a battle right from the first whistle."

Meanwhile, Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Neil Back has made five changes to his starting line up for Saturday's massive game at the Gardens.

Three of the changes come in the forwards with skipper Marco Wentzel ruled out with a calf injury. Kearnan Myall moves from the back-row to the second-row in his final appearance for Leeds before he joins Sale next season. The back-row is shuffled with Rhys Oakley moving to six and Alfie To'oala coming in at number eight.

The other two changes come in the front-row with Mike MacDonald and Juan Gomez starting at props with Gareth Hardy and Phil Swainston moving to the bench.

There are two changes in the back-line with centre Scott Barrow coming in for Lachlan MacKay, who can not play because MacDonald and Gomez are the two overseas players in the line up. Peter Wackett returns on the wing allowing Michael Stephenson to move back to full back in place of Christian Lewis-Pratt, who moves to the bench to face his former club.

Leeds will give a debut to England Sevens international Uche Oduoza on the bench. The former Worcester and Newcastle flyer has been training with Leeds for a number of months and played in the A team win over Northampton last month. He had a knee reconstruction last year which prevented him from joining Leeds Carnegie last summer and instead concentrated on his law degree studies in York however he will get his chance off the bench against the Saints.

Form: The Saints have won their last five clashes against Leeds in all competitions. Leeds' only previous victory at Franklin's Gardens was 24-19 in the quarter-final of the Powergen Cup in January 2005. Northampton Saints reached the Heineken Cup final with a superb semi-final victory over Perpignan at Milton Keynes on Sunday. The Saints only defeat in their last seven matches was 15-27 at Gloucester in the Premiership on 19 April. Northampton require just two league points to guarantee a place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals. Leeds Carnegie need to obtain two more league points in this round than Newcastle do if they are to avoid the drop into the Championship, maybe less if Leeds win but the Falcons do not.

The teams:

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 James Downey, 11 Paul Diggin, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Stuart Commins, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Phil Dowson (capt), 6 Mark Easter, 5 Christian Day, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Bruce Reihana.

Leeds Carnegie: 15 Michael Stephenson, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 Henry Fa'afili, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Peter Wackett, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Rhys Oakley, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Daniel Browne, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Mike MacDonald.
Replacements: 16 Phil Nilsen, 17 Gareth Hardy, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Phil Swainston, 20 Tom Denton, 21 Dan White, 22 Christian Lewis-Pratt, 23 Uche Oduoza.

Date: Saturday, May 7
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Referee: tbc

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411