Saints bring back the big guns for semi-final showdown

HE'S BACK - Stephen Myler starts at fly-half for Saints in their Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final against Saracens
HE'S BACK - Stephen Myler starts at fly-half for Saints in their Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final against Saracens

Saints have brought back the big guns for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final against Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 2pm).

Having rested a number of his key men at Leicester last weekend, Jim Mallinder has recalled the likes of Courtney Lawes, Samu Manoa and Stephen Myler to the starting 15.

Mallinder is only without Ben Foden (knee) and George North (concussion) who remain sidelined.

Lee Dickson gets the nod over Kahn Fotuali’i at scrum-half, while Ahsee Tuala continues to keep James Wilson out of the side at full-back.

Alex Corbisiero and Salesi Ma’afu win the battle to be Saints’ starting props, with Alex Waller and Gareth Denman on the bench.

Saints topped the regular-season table to set up a home game against Saracens, who edged into fourth with a thumping 68-17 win at London Welsh last weekend.

Chris Ashton, who scored four tries in that game, is dropped to the bench at Franklin’s Gardens, his former stomping ground.

Schalk Brits is also among the replacements, while the likes of Jim Hamilton and Charlie Hodgson also provide experienced back-up.

Saints: Tuala; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, Elliott; Myler, Dickson; Corbisiero, Hartley (c), Ma’afu; Lawes, Day; Wood, Clark, Manoa.

Replacements: Haywood, A Waller, Denman, Dickinson, Fisher, Fotuali’i, Stephenson, Wilson.

Saracens: Goode; Wyles, Taylor, Barritt, Strettle; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, George, Du Plessis; Kruis, Hargreaves (c); Itoje, Burger, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Brits, Barrington, Figallo, Hamilton, Wray, De Kock, Hodgson, Ashton.