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Preview: Leicester v Northampton

02nd November 2012 07:44

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Ben Youngs Phil Dowson Northampton Leicester 2012

At scrum-half for Tigers: Ben Youngs

Leicester Tigers welcome back Geordan Murphy, Ben Youngs and Julian Salvi for Saturday's Premiership derby against Northampton Saints.

Skipper Murphy has recovered from a knee injury, while Youngs has been released from the England squad after missing last Saturday's match at Gloucester.

Salvi returns to the back row and is joined by Steve Mafi and summer signing Richard Thorpe.

There are calls for Marcos Ayerza, George Chuter and Martin Castrogiovanni in the front row, and George Ford starts at fly-half.

Dan Bowden returns to the matchday squad and back-rower Michael Noone is included among the replacements for the first time.

Meanwhile, Northampton Saints will be lloking to bounce back from home reverse to Saracens seven days ago.

That result saw the Saints slip from the top of the Premiership table, but director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes that there were plenty of good things to take from that performance.

"Of course we want to win, but rugby is also about the way you play and there has been plenty to build on from our previous games," he said.

"We've looked at our past performances and there have been bits where we've played well and bits where we haven't. Of course we've worked on those areas and while it's going to be a massive challenge at Welford Road it's one that we're up for.

"We've got a good side who have had the right attitude in training, and hopefully we'll have the right performance which will lead to the result we want."

Form: Leicester Tigers lost 21-27 at Gloucester on Saturday but have not lost successive Aviva Premiership encounters since October last year. Since September 2011 the Tigers have lost just two games at Welford Road - both to Harlequins. Northampton Saints have slipped to back to back Premiership defeats for the first time since September 2011. Leicester have won their last five fixtures with Northampton in all competitions, whilst the Saints only win at Welford Road since 2003 was 10-9 on 24 February 2007.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Niall Morris, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Richard Thorpe, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Michael Noone, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Vereniki Goneva.

Northampton Saints: 15 Tom May 14 Ken Pisi 13 George Pisi 12 Dom Waldouck 11 Jamie Elliott 10 Ryan Lamb 9 Martin Roberts 8 GJ Van Velze 7 Phil Dowson (capt) 6 Calum Clark 5 Mark Sorenson 4 Samu Manoa 3 Brian Mujati 2 Mike Haywood 1 Soane Tonga'uiha
Replacements: 16 Ross Mcmillan 17 Alex Waller 18 Paul Doran Jones 19 Ben Nutley 20 Rhys Oakley 21 Alex Day 22 Luther Burrell 23 Vasily Artemyev

Date: Saturday, November 3
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 14.15 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner

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PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821