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- Aviva Premiership
- Semi Final
- 16th May 2014
- KO 19:45
- Ground: Franklin's Gardens
- Att: 13,591
Aviva Premiership semi-final: Northamton Saints v Leicester Tigers preview
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Northampton welcome back George Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i, Samu Manoa and Tom Wood to their starting line-up for Friday's Aviva Premiership semi-final against rivals Leicester.
The Saints quartet were on the bench for the record romp against Wasps in the final game of the regular season, however they return for the crucial clash at Franklin’s Gardens.
The Saints are also buoyed by the inclusion of Courtney Lawes in the second row, while Ross McMillan is added to the bench.
The fixture is a repeat of last season’s Premiership final, a match the Tigers went on and won after Northampton and England hooker Dylan Hartley was red carded.
Leicester have reached a staggering nine successive finals – and they go into the clash against their East Midland foes boosted by the return of six internationals.
Having been rested for the round 22 victory over Saracens, Marcos Ayerza, Jordan Crane, Vereniki Goneva, Logovi’i Mulipola, Ben Youngs and Tom Youngs all come back into the visiting side.
Captain Ed Slater, Julian Salvi and Jamie Gibson after sitting out last also come into the pack, while Dan Bowden starts in the centre, with Toby Flood at fly-half.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “We’ve come through 22 tough rounds of Aviva Premiership rugby, everyone has worked really hard, and we’ve shown a lot of resilience to get here. Now it comes down to 80 minutes on Friday for a place in the final.
“Saints have had a very good season, they’ve been on good form, but we’ve been in decent form too and we will do our best to go there and try to win. It’s a local derby and a semi-final, it should be a heck of a game.”
Northampton: 15 Foden, 14 K Pisi, 13 G Pisi, 12 Burrell, 11 North, 10 Myler, 9 Fotuali’i, 1 Waller, 2 Haywood, 3 Ma’afu, 4 Manoa, 5 Lawes, 6 Wood, 7 Dowson (c), 8 Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 McMillan, 17 Corbisiero, 18 Mercey, 19 Day, 20 Clark, 21 Dickson, 22 Wilson, 23 Stephenson.
Leicester: 15 Tait, 14 Morris, 13 Tuilagi, 12 Bowden, 11 Goneva, 10 Flood, 9 B Youngs, 1 Ayerza, 2 T Youngs, 3 Mulipola, 4 Deacon, 5 Slater (c), 6 Gibson, 7 Salvi, 8 Crane.
Replacements: 16 Briggs, 17 Bristow, 18 Balmain, 19 Kitchener, 20 Mafi, 21 Mele, 22 Williams, 23 Thompstone
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|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