Calum Clark will skipper Northampton Saints when they face Leicester Tigers in Sunday’s LV= Cup final.
Worcester’s Sixways Stadium hosts the clash, which is the first time that the Saints and Tigers will have met in a major domestic final.
And director of rugby Jim Mallinder said that this will provide some extra spice when the local rivals run out to face each other.
“When you start the season you only play in three competitions and you set out to win all three,” he said. “Unfortunately we got knocked out of the Heineken Cup so we’re left in two. We want to win both of those, and this starts on Sunday with the match against a Leicester team which showed all its qualities in the win down at Bath last weekend.
“Recently they’ve been playing well in the Premiership and LV= Cup and getting good results. It’s going to be a very competitive game, very physical, and tough at the breakdown and set piece.
“But nobody wants to get to a final and lose – it makes for a depressing trip home. You want to get there and win, and that’s what we’ve been focusing on all week.”
On the Tigers side of things, club captain Geordan Murphy returns to lead them.
Murphy captains a team which also includes Thomas Waldrom, Logoviii Mulipola, George Skivington and Matt Smith in changes to the line-up which started against Bath in the semi-final.
Toby Flood, released from the England squad alongside Waldrom earlier this week, is named among the replacements.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “There is a big rivalry between the clubs as such close neighbours, but it is a healthy rivalry because there is a lot of respect for the work of both clubs. We know each other well, there is a lot of history there, and every game between Leicester and Northampton is a big game.
“The two teams have never met in a cup final before so this promises to be a great occasion for the players and the supporters. It’ll be full-blooded and fully committed, and should be a great spectacle.”
Saints: Diggin, Artemyev, Pisi, Downey, Armstrong, Myler, Roberts; Tonga’uiha, Long, Doran-Jones, Craig, Day, Clark (c), Wood, Wilson. Reps: McMillan, Waller, Mujati, Sorenson, Nutley, Glynn, Lamb, May.
Tigers: Murphy (c), Agulla, Smith, Twelvetrees, Hamilton, Ford, Grindal; Stankovich, Hawkins, Mulipola, Skivington, Kitchener, Mafi, Newby, Waldrom. Reps: T Youngs, Ayerza, White, Green, Salvi, Steele, Flood, Forsyth.
Tickets remain available for Sunday’s game. Prices start at £20 for adults with junior tickets just £10 throughout the stadium and supporters can order theirs directly from Sixways by calling 01905 454183.
For a full preview of the big final clash make sure you get a copy of Saturday’s Evening Telegraph.