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- Aviva Premiership
- 14th Apr 2012
- KO 14:15
- Ground: Franklin's Gardens
- Att: 13,475
Saints v Tigers: Teams
At Franklin's Gardens, Saturday April 14, kick-off 2.15pm
Northampton know a bonus-point victory over the Leicester in the East Midlands derby could see them leapfrog their rivals in the table.
Saints have beaten Wasps and Bath in recent league outings while the Tigers won all five of their games in March in all competitions, including a 26-14 LV= Cup win over Northampton.
With just three rounds of the Aviva Premiership remaining the closing stages of the campaign with not only dictate who clinches a play-off spot, but who wins a home semi-final as well.
Saints boss Jim Mallinder has made only one change to the team that started in last week's 26-6 victory at Bath.
Samu Manoa comes into the second row to partner Christian Day with Mark Sorenson dropping to the bench.
"It's a big game," Saints' director of rugby Jim Mallinder said this week. "Obviously Leicester are our local rivals, but we know that we've got three games to go in the regular season and we want to win all three to give us a chance of a home semi-final.
"That's what we're aiming for and I'm sure that everyone's going to be up for Saturday's game. We've trained hard and have prepared for what's going to come at us on Saturday. Leicester are physical up front and love the set piece, but they like to play a bit too and get on the front foot. So we'll have to be at the top of our game."
England international scrum-half Ben Youngs returns to the Tigers line-up after missing their bonus-point win over Worcester Warriors due to suspension.
He is re-united with international colleague Toby Flood at half-back while Horacio Agulla, George Skivington and Geoff Parling are included in the team after missing the Worcester fixture.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: "Tigers versus Saints is always a big match, no matter what is at stake. Both teams are chasing a place in the semi-finals and this promises to be another big occasion.
"These are two good set-piece teams, with two good sets of backs, and these games have been great contests."
Northampton:15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 George Pisi, 12 James Downey, 11 Paul Diggin, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Lee Dickson (capt), 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 James Craig, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Andy Long, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson,20 Ben Nutley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom May.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 George Skivington, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Martin Castrogiovanni, 18 Logovi'i Mulipola, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Craig Newby, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Scott Hamilton.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com