Lawes returns as Saints prepare to take on Warriors

HE'S BACK - Courtney Lawes starts for Saints on Saturday (Picture: Linda Dawson)
HE'S BACK - Courtney Lawes starts for Saints on Saturday (Picture: Linda Dawson)
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Courtney Lawes will make his first start since February as Saints take on Worcester Warriors at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

The England lock is now fully fit after damaging an elbow in pre-season, and will line up in a powerful looking Saints team, taking the place of his international team-mate Tom Wood, who has been rested.

Wood is looking forward to facing his former Worcester team-mates for the first time, but he will have to do it from the replacements’ bench.

As expected, James Wilson starts at full-back in place of the injured Ben Foden, while Stephen Myler keeps his place at fly-half after his matchwinning performance at Bath last Friday.

Other changes see George Pisi return at centre in place of Dom Waldouck and Paul Doran-Jones replaces Tom Mercey at prop, while Brian Mujati has recovered from his shin problem and is named as a replacement.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has been pleased with Saints’ start of three wins out of three, but says his team need to step things up against the Warriors this weekend.

“We’ve won our first three games, which is good, but there has been plenty to work on ahead of Saturday’s game,” said Mallinder.

“We’ve gone ahead in games and then let the other team back in, which is something we’ve got to stop doing, especially in such a tight competition like the Aviva Premiership.

“Worcester have played some good rugby in their first three games, and have been very competitive. Richard Hill has brought some good players in and it’s going to be a difficult game for us.

“We’ve got to look at our own performance and to step things up if we’re going to continue our good start.”

Tickets remain available for Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 3pm. To book your place at Franklin’s Gardens just visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk

Saints team to play Worcester: Wilson; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, Artemyev; Myler, Dickson; Tonga’uiha, Hartley, Doran-Jones, Manoa, Day, Lawes, Dowson, Oakley. Replacements: Haywood, Waller, Mujati, Sorenson, Wood, Roberts, Lamb, Waldouck.