Wilson given central role for Saints’ clash with Saracens

CENTRE STAGE - James Wilson scored two tries from centre against Sale and will start there again against Saracens (picture by Linda Dawson)
CENTRE STAGE - James Wilson scored two tries from centre against Sale and will start there again against Saracens (picture by Linda Dawson)

James Wilson will start at outside centre for Saints in their Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final at Saracens on Sunday.

The Kiwi utility back comes in for George Pisi, who is out of the game with a hamstring injury.

Calum Clark keeps his place in the back row at the expense of Phil Dowson, who is on the bench, with Tom Wood at seven and Samu Manoa at eight.

But it is the selection of Wilson at 13 that is the main talking point.

The former Bourgoin player shone in a central role after coming off the bench against Sale recently, scoring two tries in a big win at Franklin’s Gardens.

He also showed pedigree in the position during pre-season and has now been given the nod by Mallinder in the biggest game of the season so far.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, Wilson, Burrell, Elliott; Myler, Dickson; Tonga’uiha, Hartley (c), Mujati; Lawes, Day; Clark, Wood, Manoa.

Replacements: Haywood, A Waller, Mercey, Dowson, van Velze, Roberts, Lamb, May.

Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Tomkins, Farrell, Strettle; Hodgson, de Kock; Vunipola, Brits, Stevens; Borthwick (c), Hargreaves; Brown, Fraser, Wray.

Replacements: Smit, Gill, Nieto, Botha, Kruis, Wigglesworth, Taylor, Wyles.