Planet Rugby

Preview: Northampton v Wasps

09th May 2014 12:48

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Alex Corbisiero

On the bench: Alex Corbisiero

The Northampton Saints coaches have used Saturday's final Aviva Premiership regular season match against London Wasps as an opportunity to give game time to several players in the squad.

George North, Christian Day and Lee Dickson all come into the starting line-up having recovered from their various knocks while Alex Corbisiero is named on the bench.

Meanwhile George Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i, Samu Manoa and Tom Wood all drop to the replacements' bench, replaced by James Wilson, Dickson, James Craig and Phil Dowson respectively.

Elsewhere in the team Mike Haywood comes in for Ross McMillan at hooker, who has picked up a shoulder knock and misses out.

McMillan's absence from the squad means that loanee hooker Koree Britton could make an appearance from the bench.

Meanwhile, Chris Bell returns to captain Wasps after missing last weekend's win over Newcastle Falcons through concussion.

Guy Thompson and Ed Jackson start in the back-row alongside Nathan Hughes, who won three man of the match awards last month.

James Haskell, Joe Simpson and Matt Mullan are rested. The following players are unavailable for selection due to injury: Jake Cooper-Woolley (foot), Will Helu (knee), Sam Jones (head knock), Andrea Masi (ankle) Kearnan Myall (shoulder), Andrew Suniula (calf), and long-term injuries to Christian Wade (foot), Ben Jacobs (knee), Jack Moates (knee) and Will Taylor (bicep).

"We want to win every match we play and we are determined to get something out of this game," said Dai Young.

"We also know we have a huge couple of weeks ahead of us in the home and away play-off for the European Rugby Champions Cup.

"We are not yet in a position where we can match the depth of squad of a club like Stade Franšais and so we have had to be sensible in our selection, resting some players who have niggles to make sure they are fully fit next week, while also giving some players needed game time to ensure we are selecting from a balanced squad."

Form: Realistically Northampton Saints require just one league point from this fixture to ensure a home semifinal. The Saints have won only one of their last five Aviva Premriship Rugby matches: 36-21 at home to London Irish in round 20. London Wasps have won back to back Premriship encounters, against Gloucester and Newcastle, but have not won three in a row in the tournament since February 2013. Wasps only away victory in the Premiership since New Year came at Worcester in round 17. Northampton have won their last nine clashes with Wasps in all tournaments since the Londoners were victorious 20-15 in the Premiership at Adams Park in October 2009. Wasps have not won at Franklin's Gardens since a visit in November 2005.

The teams:

Northampton Saints:15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 James Wilson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Phil Dowson (c), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 George Pisi, 23 Tom Stephenson.

London Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 James Short, 13 Chris Bell (c), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Ed Jackson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 James Cannon, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Ricky Reeves, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Elliot Daly.

Date: Saturday, April 10
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Kick-off: 15.15 BST
Referee: Luke Pearce

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