Planet Rugby

Preview: Northampton v Leeds

25th September 2009 12:01

Share:

Leeds v Newcastle Rob Vickerman r Jonny Hepworth

Back in: Jonny Hepworth

Northampton have made four changes to their starting line-up ahead of Saturday's clash with lowly Leeds.

The Saints return home after a fortnight on the road that included last week's win at Kingsholm. However, boss Jim Mallinder warned that nothing should be taken for granted at Franklin's Gardens.

"The Worcester game showed that a win isn't guaranteed just by us playing on home turf," he said before saying he expects a tough day.

"Leeds are always going to be a threat. They've got good coaches and good players and will exploit any weakness on our part.

"They aren't going to give up and we'll have to work hard for every point.

"We've got to be in the right place, mentally and physically."

Mallinder's changes to last Saturday's team include Chris Mayor, Brett Sharman, Courtney Lawes and Roger Wilson coming in for James Downey, Dylan Hartley, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe and Neil Best respectively. Phil Dowson wears the captain's armband.

"We have plenty of good players in our squad and it is important in a long season that they all get game time," he continued.

Meanwhile, Leeds have also made four changes to the starting line-up for their trip.

Scott Barrow, Lee Blackett, Kearnan Myall and Danny Paul have all been ruled out through injury and join captain Marco Wentzel, hooker Rob Rawlinson, full-back Leigh Hinton and new signing Seru Rabeni on the sidelines this week.

New signing Henry Fa'afili will arrive in England on Sunday after being granted visa clearance whilst the club is still waiting on Mike MacDonald and Fosi Pala'amo.

One change comes in the back line with Jonny Hepworth reverting back to the starting XV in place of Luther Burrell. In the forwards, hooker Phil Nilsen comes in for his first start this season in place of Vili Ma'asi and Rhys Oakley returns at number eight in place of Alfie To'oala.

Form: The last four Premiership meetings between the two teams have been won by the home side, whilst Leeds have never won in five previous visits to Franklin's Gardens in the Premiership. Leeds did however win there 24-19 in the quarter-final of the Powergen Cup on 22 January 2005. Northampton Saints have won four of their last five matches in all competitions, whilst the Saints only reversal at Franklin's Gardens since March 2007 remains 13-19 at the hands of Newcastle in the Guinness Premiership on 28 February 2009. Leeds Carnegie just have two points to show from their first three Guinness Premiership matches this season, courtesy of an opening weekend draw at home to Newcastle. Leeds have won only one of their last 23 away games in the Premiership since April 2005: 16-12 at Bath on 25 November 2005.

The teams:

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 Chris Mayor, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Scott Gray, 6 Phil Dowson (capt), 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Santiago Bonorino, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Matt Cairns, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Neil Best, 21 Alan Dickens, 22 Barry Everitt, 23 Joe Ansbro.

Leeds: 15 Jon Goodridge, 14 Richard Welding, 13 Jonny Hepworth, 12 Henry Paul, 11 Scott Armstrong, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Tom Denton, 5 Jon Pendlebury (capt), 4 Erik Lund, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Phil Nilsen, 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16 Vili Ma'asi, 17 Alex Moreno, 18 Tommy McGee, 19 Calum Clark, 20 Alfie To'oala, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Peter Wackett.

Date: Saturday, September 26
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Referee: Sean Davey
Assistant referees: Bruce Robertson, Martin Buck
Television match official: Brian Abrahams

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
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
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411