England scum-half Lee Dickson has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Aviva Premiership clash with London Welsh at Franklin’s Gardens (ko 1pm) due to a shoulder injury picked up in last weekend’s LV= Cup win at Newport Gwent Dragons.
It had been hoped Dickson would recover in time to take on the Exiles, but that’s not the case and Martin Roberts takes his place in the starting XV.
On the plus side for Saints, Soan Tonga’uiha returns to club duty after a stint on international duty, as does winger Vasily Artemyev.
Tonga’uiha starts at prop against Welsh, but Artemyev is on the bench, where he will be joined by fit-again fly-half Stephen Myler.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder is hoping his team can carry on the momentum gained from last weekend’s victory.
Tomorrow’s game is the first time that the Saints and Welsh have met in the top flight, although the two did cross paths during the Saints’ Championship winning season of 2007/08.
Welsh have been one of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s most competitive newcomers, winning nearly half their matches, and Mallinder said that the Saints needed to treat them with plenty of respect.
“London Welsh have been very competitive this season and we will not be taking them lightly,” he commented.
“They have players with the experience and ability to take advantage if we make a mistake, and with Lyn Jones they have a coach who has been around the game for a long time.
“However we are in good spirits coming into the game and training has been positive this week.
“Of course things have been somewhat different with the changes in the coaching staff, but the players have responded well and are fully focused on the job in hand, which is all about beating London Welsh.”
Tickets remain available for tomorrow’s game, with prices starting from £18 for juniors and concessions, and £28 for adults.
To book just visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/tickets
Saints team to play London Welsh, Saturday, November 24, ko 1pm: Tom MAY; Ken Pisi, Dom Waldouck, Luther Burrell, Jamie Elliott; Ryan Lamb, Martin Roberts; Soane Tonga’uiha, Mike Haywood, Brian Mujati, Samu Manoa, Courtney Lawes, Calum Clark, Phil Dowson, GJ Van Velze. Replacements: Ross McMillan, Alex Waller, Paul Doran-Jones, Mark Sorenson, Rhys Oakley, Alex Day, Stephen Myler, Vasily Artemyev