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Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints - Aviva Premiership match preview
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 week'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 will be looking to bounce back from home reverse to Saracens last weekend.
Flanker Calum Clarke returns to the starting XV after completing a 32-week suspension imposed for breaking the arm of Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins in last season's LV= Cup final.
Phil Dowson, released by England, captains the side but Lee Dickson, Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley and Stephen Myler are all absent.
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.
What they said...
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder
"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."
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com