Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers Premiership Preview

Northampton Saints host Leicester Tigers Franklins Gardens

Leicester Tigers have named an unchanged team to play in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby derby match against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill stays with the team that started the win over Stade Francais in the European Champions Cup quarter-final last week, while Ed Slater and Sam Harrison come back on to the bench after their late withdrawal last Sunday in the only changes to the matchday squad.

Scrum-half Harrison is in line for his 100th appearance for the club since making his debut as a teenager in 2009.

Mathew Tait leads the team from full-back and is joined in the back three by wings Vereniki Goneva and Telusa Veainu who have 21 tries between them this season. Peter Betham continues at centre alongside Manu Tuilagi, with Freddie Burns and Ben Youngs at half-back.

The forward pack includes international front rows Marcos Ayerza and Dan Cole alongside hooker Harry Thacker, with Dom Barrow and Graham Kitchener at lock. The back row includes Mike Fitzgerald, who was this week named Players’ Player of the Year, with Brendon O’Connor and Lachlan McCaffrey.

Northampton Saints only victory in their last four matches in all competitions was 29-23 over Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 27th March.

The Saints only home defeat since November came when Wasps were the visitors in round 10.

Leicester Tigers’ last nine fixtures have all been won by the home side on the day.

The Tigers have won just once on the road in any tournament since mid-December: 19-18 at Gloucester on 30th January.

Leicester beat Northampton 30-27 at Welford Road in round 9 and have not achieved an Aviva Premiership Rugby season’s double over their East Midlands rivals since 2012/13.

Tigers have lost on their last two visits to Franklin’s Gardens since their 22-16 victory there in round 18 of the 2013/14 campaign.

Northampton Saints have named a team with four changes to the side that started in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter final at Saracens.

Ahsee Tuala, Tom Kessell, Kieran Brookes and Tom Wood all come into the team, with Wood also wearing the captain’s armband.

The Bookies have given Leicester a 5 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to £200 in Bonus bets.

Match : Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers
Date : Saturday 16 April
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens
Kick Off : 5.30pm
Live on: BTSport
Match Officials
Referee :Matt Carley (44th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Roy Maybank.
TMO: Sean Davey.

Teams

Northampton

15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Tom Kessell, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood (c), 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller

Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 JJ Hanrahan, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Tom Collins

Leicester Tigers

15 Mathew Tait (c) , 14 Telusa Veainu , 13 Peter Betham , 12 Manu Tuilagi , 11 Vereniki Goneva , 10 Freddie Burns , 9 Ben Youngs , 1 Marcos Ayerza , 2 Harry Thacker , 3 Dan Cole , 4 Dom Barrow , 5 Graham Kitchener , 6 Mike Fitzgerald , 7 Brendon O’Connor , 8 Lachlan McCaffrey

Replacements : 16 Greg Bateman , 17 Logovi’i Mulipola , 18 Fraser Balmain , 19 Ed Slater , 20 Tom Croft , 21 Sam Harrison , 22 Owen Williams , 23 Adam Thompstone

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