Saints face tough selection decisions ahead of Tigers showdown

Jim Mallinder must decide whether to field his international stars, including George North (left)
Jim Mallinder must decide whether to field his international stars, including George North (left)

Dorian West admits the Saints coaches face some tough selection decisions ahead of Saturday’s clash with Leicester Tigers at Franklin’s Gardens.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has a fully-fit squad to choose from and this week welcomed back his five Six Nations stars.

Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Louis Picamoles and George North are all in contention to take on the Tigers in what is a crucial Aviva Premiership clash.

But with Saints having won their most recent league game, at Sale, without their international players, they face a tricky task to pick the team to tackle Leicester.

“We’ve got a lot of players available and selection is tough this week,” forwards coach West said.

“We’ve got a lot of people holding their hands up, which is what you always want and there’s no excuses there.

“We’ve got a decent side out and we just need to make sure we gel everyone together because we haven’t played together for eight weeks or so since the start of that Six Nations period.

“We’re working hard and we need to give a good account of ourselves.”

One national newspaper had reported that England captain Hartley had jetted off to Dubai after last Saturday’s defeat to Ireland and would not be available to face Tigers.

But West says that is simply not true.

“Dylan’s been here training every day and he’s buzzing,” he said.