Francis could make Saints debut in Harlequins clash

Piers Francis could make his first competitive appearance for Saints on Saturday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Piers Francis could make his first competitive appearance for Saints on Saturday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Jim Mallinder has confirmed summer signing Piers Francis will be available to make his Saints debut against Harlequins on Saturday.

Francis has not been able to feature in the opening four matches of the season, having sustained a fractured jaw in a pre-season win against Glasgow Warriors.

But the fly-half has now been given the all clear and could get some game time against Quins at Franklin's Gardens this weekend.

"Piers Francis is available for the next game as he's got the all clear, so we've got some good options there in midfield," Mallinder said.

Stephen Myler is also back fit and will start for the Wanderers at fly-half against Worcester Cavaliers at Sixways tonight.

That means Saints will have competition for Harry Mallinder, who has started each of the opening four matches at No.10.

Mallinder could be asked to switch to inside centre on Saturday, with Luther Burrell having limped off in the win at London Irish on Sunday.

"Luther's hurt his knee," Saints boss Mallinder said. "I'm not exactly sure how bad it is.

"Hopefully it's just bruising and nothing worse."

But there is good news on Dylan Hartley, who was once again performing water boy duties at the weekend.

The England captain joined up with the national team for a training camp in Oxford after Saints' game on Sunday and his hand injury continues to improve.

"We're hopeful on Dylan," Mallinder said. "He was working on his fitness here (at the Madejski Stadium), running water on the field.

"Hopefully he won't do too much in the England camp during the next couple of days and he comes back to us fresh and raring to go for Harlequins."