Preview: Leicester v Northampton

Date published: January 30 2015

Leicester wing Niall Morris will make his first starting appearance since the opening month of the season as the Tigers host Northampton at Welford Road on Saturday.

Morris has fully recovered after ankle ligament surgery and made his comeback as a second-half replacement in the European Cup match against Ulster in Belfast last weekend.

He starts on the right wing as Welford Road hosts Saturday’s local derby.

Jack Roberts is given his first start at centre and George Catchpole makes his first appearance of the season after a loan spell at the Championship side.

Sam Harrison captains Tigers from scrum-half, with Owen Williams returning to the No10 shirt.

In the forward pack, there is a home debut for 23-year-old USA international lock Greg Peterson whose only previous appearance was in the closing minutes of the league win over Sale Sharks at Christmas.

Former Auckland and Brumbies lock Jack Whetton is among the replacements on his first appearance in a Tigers matchday line-up and centre Terrence Hepetema is included for the first time this season after injury.

Meanwhile, Northamptonhave made a number of changes to their matchday squad.

With both teams leading their respective pools this is set to be another important East Midlands derby, and the team that Phil Dowson leads out at Welford Road will be playing in front of a record crowd for the LV= Cup group stages.

But plenty of the players named have experienced big occasions, including internationals Cam Dolan and Tom Ryder, who make their Saints debuts.

Every other starting player has run out for the first team this season, and with 17 of the matchday 23 having come through the club’s Academy system the squad reflects the LV= Cup’s ethos of giving opportunities to young players to shine.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Niall Morris, 13 George Catchpole, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Sam Harrison (c), 8 Laurence Pearce, 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Sebastian De Chaves, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Charlie Beckett, 21 David Mele, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Terrence Hepetema.

Northampton: 15 Tom Collins, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Howard Packman, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Joel Hodgson, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Phil Dowson (c), 5 Alex Woolford, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Gareth Denman, 2 Matti Williams, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 18 Adam Parkins, 19 Jordan Onojaife, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Alex Day, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Rory Hutchinson.

Date: Saturday, January 31
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Paul Dix (England), Simon McConnell (England)
Timekeeper: Paul Stanley (England)