Stars return as Saints boss Mallinder makes nine changes for visit of Treviso

WELCOME RETURN - skipper Dylan Hartley is back in the Saints team for Saturday's European Champions Cup clash with Treviso
WELCOME RETURN - skipper Dylan Hartley is back in the Saints team for Saturday's European Champions Cup clash with Treviso
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Saints boss Jim Mallinder has brought back his England stars and Wales juggernaut George North for Saturday’s return Champions Cup clash with Treviso.

Mallinder has made nine changes to the team which earned a bonus-point 38-15 win in Italy last weekend as he freshens things up ahead of the derby date with Leicester next Saturday.

North returns after missing last week’s win with concussion, while Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood all step up from the bench.

Hartley is in for Mike Haywood, Lawes for Christian Day and Wood for Samu Manoa.

Salesi Ma’afu makes a quick comeback from the back injury that ruled him out at Treviso as he replaces Gareth Denman, while Ethan Waller comes in for brother Alex, who is on the bench.

Ben Foden, Luther Burrell and Lee Dickson are also among the replacements as their places are taken by James Wilson, George Pisi and Kahn Fotuali’i.

Saints are currently level with Racing Metro at the top of Pool 5, with Ospreys, who drew with the French side in Wales last weekend, three points behind on seven.

Saints: Wilson; K Pisi, G Pisi, Stephenson, North; Myler, Fotuali’i; E Waller, Hartley (c), Ma’afu; Dickinson, Lawes; Clark, Wood, Dowson.

Replacements: Haywood, A Waller, Denman, C Day, Manoa, L Dickson, Burrell, Foden.

Treviso: Hayward; Ragusi, Morisi, Bacchin, Nitoglia; Carlisle, Gori; Zanusso, Anae, Muccignat; Pavanello, Fuser; Swanepoel, Minto, Luamanu.

Replacements: Kudin, Novak, Acosta, Vallejos, Lazzaroni, Favaro, Trevisan, Ambrosini.