Foden and Hartley return for Saints at Sale

WELCOME RETURN - Ben Foden is helped off the pitch at Bath on September 14, and he hasn't played rugby since. The full-back returns to the Saints starting line-up at Sale tomorrow (Picture: Linda Dawson)

WELCOME RETURN - Ben Foden is helped off the pitch at Bath on September 14, and he hasn't played rugby since. The full-back returns to the Saints starting line-up at Sale tomorrow (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Ben Foden and skipper Dylan Hartley are both back in the Saints team for Friday night’s trip to Sale Sharks in the Aviva Premiership.

The pair’s return is a massive boost for director of rugby Jim Mallinder ahead of the trip to face his former club, and he will be further buoyed by the return of centre George Pisi.

All three players have been sorely missed while they have been out of action through injury.

Foden has been the most long term casualty, having not played since damaging ankle ligaments in the match at Bath on September 14, he has missed 10 matches in all.

There is further good news with scrum-half Lee Dickson fit again after a shoulder problem, and he starts on the replacements bench, while props Brian Mujati and Soane Tonga’uiha, who look set to leave the club in the summer, both start.

Sale are bottom of the Premiership table, but Mallinder is wary of the threat they possess.

“Sale have been getting some disappointing results this season and we’re expecting them to be very motivated for tomorrow’s game, especially with the return of John Mitchell to the club,” said Mallinder.

“They have talented players who will no doubt be looking to prove a point, and after having won their last three home matches in all competitions they have developed a winning habit in Salford over the past month.

“We know we will have a big job on our hands, but all our focus this week has been on getting a good result on Friday night. This season the Aviva Premiership is more competitive than ever and every point matters. We have had two wins in the past two weeks and now we want to build on that tomorrow.”

Friday’s game is being shown live on ESPN, with coverage starting at 7.15pm.

Saints team to play Sale Sharks at the Salford City Stadium, Friday, November 30, ko 7:45pm: Ben Foden; Ken Pisi, George Pisi, Dom Waldouck, Jamie Elliott; Ryan Lamb; Martin Roberts; Soane Tonga’uiha, Dylan Hartley, Brian Mujati, Samu Manoa, Mark Sorenson, Calum Clark, Phil Dowson, GJ Van Velze. Replacements: Mike Haywood, Alex Waller, Paul Doran-Jones, Rhys Oakley, Ben Nutley, Lee Dickson, Stephen Myler, Tom May