Key players close to return as Collins and Co give Saints a selection headache

The Wanderers secured a big win against Wasps A on Monday night (picture: Dave Ikin)
The Wanderers secured a big win against Wasps A on Monday night (picture: Dave Ikin)

The Saints coaches will have some tough decisions to make during the next couple of weeks with experienced stars nearing a return and fringe players pushing for starts.

Dylan Hartley (illness), Alex Waller (arm), Luther Burrell (shoulder) and Tom Wood (groin) were among a group of players missing for the most recent first-team match, at Newcastle.

But those players, along with flanker Heinrich Brüssow (hamstring), are on the comeback trail.

"Dylan trained again this week so he's on the road to recovery," said interim head coach Alan Dickens ahead of Saturday's home game against Saracens.

"Heinrich is very, very close. He's doing the process and he'll probably train today.

"Tom Wood has had a groin injury and he's also on the road back.

"Alex Waller has trained this week. He's been training with the squad, flying around ready to go.

"Luther Burrell is the same as Alex Waller.

"It's good to have players coming back.

"The intensity increases with those players returning and it adds to the competition within the squad."

Tom Collins scored a hat-trick in the Wanderers' 75-26 win against Wasps A on Monday night, with a plethora of players impressing in the Gardens game.

And when asked about Collins' chances of starting against Saracens, Dickens said: "He's in contention and everyone who played on Monday night is in contention.

"Tom Collins had a fantastic game and he finished off some good tries. He scored two individual tries.

"I thought Ken Pisi also made some nice plays on Monday, maybe not finishing the moves off but giving the last pass.

"I thought there were a lot of good performances on Monday night and all of them have put their hand up for selection for the next few games.

"It makes it difficult for the selection this week and for the Wanderers going up to Newcastle next week because everyone wants to play.

"That has been a frustration this season, that the players haven't had the chance to play often enough to stake their claim.

"It's a shame and it's a problem we seem to have every year."