Heineken Cup Pool 1: Northampton v Leinster match preview

Last updated: 6th December 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

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Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder has made four changes to his team for Saturday's Heineken Cup encounter with Leinster.

James Wilson returns to the side at full-back, with George North coming onto the wing after the completion of his commitments with Wales.

Up front Courtney Lawes partners Samu Manoa in the second row with Phil Dowson coming in on the flank.

Meanwhile, Brian O'Driscoll will resume his midfield partnership with Gordon D'Arcy for Leinster.

Ian Madigan continues at fly-half alongside Eoin Reddan who is in line to make his 89th Leinster appearance and his 307th career appearance (52 caps - Ireland, 125 - London Wasps, 29 - Munster and 12 - Connacht).

Luke Fitzgerald joins the Kearney brothers Dave and Rob in the back three.

Jamie Heaslip leads the team and the Naas man is named in the back-row alongside Sean O'Brien and Rhys Ruddock who will win his 69th Leinster cap in Northampton.

Devin Toner returns to the second row after his involvement with Ireland over the recent international series and will partner Mike McCarthy, with Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross - who now lies six appearances shy of the century mark for Leinster - completing the pack.

Leo Cullen continues his recent return to action and is one of a further four Ireland internationals on the bench alongside Kiwi out-half Jimmy Gopperth and South African Zane Kirchner.

The teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Wilson, 14 Pisi, 13 Waldouck, 12 Burrell, 11 North, 10 Myler, 9 Dickson, 8 Dickinson, 7 Dowson, 6 Wood, 5 Lawes, 4 Manoa, 3 Ma'afu, 2 Hartley (capt), 1 Waller.

Replacements: 16 Haywood, 17 Waller, 18 Mercey, 19 Day, 20 Clark, 21 Glynn, 22 Dickson, 23 Elliott.

Leinster: 15 Kearney, 14 Kearney, 13 O'Driscoll, 12 D'Arcy, 11 Fitzgerald, 10 Madigan, 9 Reddan, 8 Heaslip (c), 7 O'Brien, 6 Ruddock, 5 McCarthy, 4 Toner, 3 Ross, 2 Cronin, 1 Healy.

Replacements: 16 Dundon, 17 McGrath, 18 Moore, 19 Cullen, 20 Jennings, 21 Boss, 22 Gopperth, 23 Kirchner.