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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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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