Wood back in starting line-up as Saints prepare for derby date with Leicester

Jim Mallinder
Jim Mallinder
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Tom Wood is back in the Saints starting line-up for Saturday’s east midlands derby against Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership at Franklin’s Gardens (ko 3pm).

Wood is one of two changes made to the Northampton starting line-up by director of rugby Jim Mallinder following last weekend’s last-gasp win at Wasps.

The England man replaces GJ van Velze in the back row, with the South African dropping to the bench, while Tom May replaces Dom Waldouck in the centres, with Waldouck dropping out of the matchday 23 completely.

Saturday’s clash with be Wood’s first start for Saints since the Heineken Cup defeat to Glasgow Warriors in Scotland on January 19.

Wood’s fellow forward Christian Day says that the Saints have to be ready for a massive test against Leicester.

The sold out signs have been hung outside Franklin’s Gardens for weeks ahead of tomorrow’s showdown, and Day says that it is a big game for players and supporters alike.

“Any time you play a team in the top six you know you’re playing international standard players in practically every position,” said Day.

“And Leicester are no different to that.

“We’ve got a close rivalry and playing Leicester is a massive test, no matter where you’re from. They’ve been at the pinnacle of European rugby for a long time and we know they’re coming here to test us once again.

“We need to up our game and look to get the win we want.”

Saints team to play Leicester Tigers, Aviva Premiership, Franklin’s Gardens, Saturday, March 30, 2013, KO 3pm: Ben Foden; James Wilson, George Pisi, Tom May, Jamie Elliott; Stephen Myler, Lee Dickson; Soane Tonga’uiha, Dylan Hartley, Tom Mercey, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Samu Manoa, Phil Dowson, Tom Wood.

Replacements: Ross McMillan, Alex Waller, Brian Mujati, GJ van Velze, Ben Nutley, Martin Roberts, Ryan Lamb, Luther Burrell.

Leicester Tigers team: Tait; Morris, Tuilagi, Allen, Thompstone; Flood, B Youngs; Ayerza, T Youngs, Cole; Slater, Parling; Croft, Salvi, Crane.