Tuala handed first league start in Saints’ clash with Saracens

Ahsee Tuala scored two tries in last month's win against Wasps (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Ahsee Tuala scored two tries in last month's win against Wasps (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Ahsee Tuala will make his first Aviva Premiership start in Saints’ clash with Saracens at stadium:mk on Saturday (kick-off 3.15pm).

The Samoan full-back has made six appearances for Northampton since arriving as injury cover for Ben Foden back in February.

He made two starts in the LV= Cup and has enjoyed cameos from the bench in the league, scoring two superb tries in the win against Wasps at the end of last month.

Tuala comes into the team in place of James Wilson, who is on the bench.

England lock Courtney Lawes returns to the starting 15, having missed the defeat at Exeter on April 12 with a shoulder problem.

And Australian tighthead prop Salesi Ma’afu is also back after also being absent the trip to Sandy Park.

Lee Dickson could make his 200th Saints appearance if he comes off the bench this weekend.

Meanwhile, Saracens, who will be looking to narrow a six-point gap to table-topping Saints with a win in Milton Keynes, have rung the changes from last Saturday’s defeat at Clermont.

Former Saints wing Chris Ashton drops to the bench as David Strettle starts, while Schalk Brits is in the starting 15 for the first time since October.

Neil de Kock starts at scrum-half, with Richard Wigglesworth beginning the game on the bench, alongside England fly-half Owen Farrell, who recently returned from injury.

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

Replacements: Haywood, A Waller, Denman, Dickinson, Fisher, Dickson, Stephenson, Wilson.

Saracens: Goode; Strettle, Bosch, Barritt (c), Wyles; Hodgson, de Kock; M Vunipola, Brits, Johnston; Kruis, Itoje; Joubert, Brown, B Vunipola.

Replacements: George, Gill, Longbottom, Hamilton, Wray, Wigglesworth, Farrell, Ashton.