Lawes returns for Saints’ clash with Saracens

Courtney Lawes (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Courtney Lawes (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Courtney Lawes is back in the Saints team for Saturday’s crucial Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens at Allianz Park (kick-off 3.15pm).

The lock has been with England, playing a part in all three Six Nations games, and has not featured for his club since the Champions Cup win at Scarlets on January 23.

But he is back in the second row this weekend, lining up alongside Victor Matfield with Christian Day still absent.

The other change made to the team that beat Worcester Warriors 38-18 at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday comes at centre, with George Pisi replacing Harry Mallinder.

Pisi gets his 13 shirt back, with Luther Burrell, who had excelled since taking on the role of outside centre, switching to 12.

There is no place in the squad for Kahn Fotuali’i, who played 40 minutes in the Wanderers win against Sale Jets on Monday night, or James Wilson, who also impressed in that game.

Paul Hill is on the bench after being released by England, while Kieran Brookes has been made available to start at tighthead.

Table-topping Saracens welcome back two England players, with Jamie George starting at hooker and Alex Goode at full-back.

But with Owen Farrell on international duty and Charlie Hodgson having suffered a neck injury, former Saints player Nils Mordt starts at fly-half.

Saracens: Goode; Ellery, Taylor, Barritt (c), Wyles; Mordt, Spencer; Barrington, George, Du Plessis; Smith, Hamilton; Rhodes, Brown, Wray.

Replacements: Saunders, Thompson-Stringer, Figallo, Hargreaves, Burger, De Kock, Bosch, Earle.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, Collins; Myler, Dickson (c); A Waller, Haywood, Brookes; Lawes, Matfield; Gibson, Wood, Harrison.

Replacements: Marshall, E Waller, Hill, Craig, Dickinson, Kessell, Hanrahan, Mallinder.