Skipper Hartley returns as Saints gear up for Ospreys test

BACK IN THE FOLD - Saints skipper Dylan Hartley returns after suspension
BACK IN THE FOLD - Saints skipper Dylan Hartley returns after suspension

Dylan Hartley returns from suspension to skipper Saints in the Champions Cup game at Ospreys on Sunday.

The England hooker has missed his club’s past three matches after being sent off for elbowing Matt Smith in the win over Leicester on December 27.

Hartley replaces Mike Haywood in a Saints pack that also includes Samu Manoa, who returns from compassionate leave, and Christian Day, who has recovered from a back injury.

Calum Clark, who was in the second row for the defeat at Sale last weekend, moves back to the flank.

Courtney Lawes remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while Kahn Fotuali’i continues to recover from a shoulder problem.

Gareth Denman comes in for Salesi Ma’afu, who has been hit with a one-week ban after falling foul of the totting up process.

Ken Pisi replaces Jamie Elliott with Alex Waller also starting, in place of Alex Corbisiero.

Former Saints scrum-half Martin Roberts is among the Ospreys replacements with the PRO12 leaders able to name Wales internationals Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar at half-back.

Ospreys: Evans; Natoga, Beck, Matavesi, Walker; Biggar, Webb; Thomas, Baldwin, Jarvis; Bernardo, Wyn-Jones (c); King, Tipuric, Ardron.

Replacements: Parry, Thomas, Arhip, Allen, Lewis, Roberts, Davies, Dirksen.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson; A Waller, Hartley (c), Denman; Dickinson, Day; Clark, Wood, Manoa.

Replacements: Haywood, E Waller, Corbisiero, Dowson, Harrison, Hodgson, Wilson, Elliott.