Saints skipper Dylan Hartley says the Saints players are well aware of the dangers that will be posed by London Wasps in tomorrow’s Aviva Premiership clash at Adams Park (ko 3.15pm).
Hartley, who was a second-half replacement for England in their defeat to Wales last weekend, has been named in the starting line-up for the trip to High Wycombe as has fellow Millennium Stadium substitute Courtney Lawes.
Tom Wood, who started every game for England in the Six Nations and was his country’s best player in the 30-3 defeat to the Welsh, is named on the replacements bench for the Wasps trip.
Elsewhere, Ben Foden starts at full-back, Dom Waldouck partners George Pisi in the centres, and Tom Mercey lines up at prop for a Saints side that hasn’t played since their Premiership win over London Irish on March 2.
With five rounds of the league campaign remaining, just three points separate Saints in fourth with Wasps in fifth, and Hartley is well aware only a win will do for Saints tomorrow.
“Saturday’s game isn’t about setting down a marker, but more about a matter of winning and securing our place in the top four,” Hartley wold www.northamptonsaints.co.uk
“Especially against a team that’s hot on our heels.
“We’ve got some tough games coming up, so we need to put some space between us and the teams below us and try to keep going forward.
“Wasps are a good team and if you don’t turn up on the day they can put a lot of points on you.
“Their wingers get talked about a lot, but if you look at people like Billy Vunipola in their back row they’ve got a lot of quality there as well.
“They’ve got some returning internationals like Joe Launchbury and James Haskell as well and they’re quality as well.
“But if we can get a complete performance it will be pretty decent. Playing away from home is never easy.
“It’s about getting the result and that’s what we’re going for.”
Saints to play London Wasps, Aviva Premiership Rugby, Adams Park, Saturday, March, 2013 (ko 3.15pm): Ben Foden; James Wilson, George Pisi, Dom Waldouck, Jamie Elliott; Stephen Myler, Lee Dickson; Soane Tonga’uiha, Dylan Hartley, Tom Mercey, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Samu Manoa, Phil Dowson, GJ Vaan Velze
Replacements: Ross McMillan, Alex Waller, Brian Mujati, Tom Wood, Ben Nutley, Martin Roberts, Ryan Lamb, Tom May