Lawes and Wood return for Saints’ Ulster crunch

BACK IN THE GREEN, BLACK AND GOLD - Tom Wood returns for Saints to take on Ulster (Picture: Linda Dawson)
BACK IN THE GREEN, BLACK AND GOLD - Tom Wood returns for Saints to take on Ulster (Picture: Linda Dawson)

England stars Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes return to the Saints side for Friday night’s crunch clash with Ulster at Franklin’s Gardens.

Wood, fresh from his man of the match performance in England’s 38-21 win against the All Blacks last Saturday, comes in for Phil Dowson at No.7.

While Lawes is back in for Mark Sorenson after coming off the bench to play the final 15 minutes in the Red Rose’s stunning win against the world champions.

Martin Roberts keeps his place at scrum-half ahead of Lee Dickson after a good showing in the 27-16 win at Sale last Friday, while in-form Ryan Lamb is again preferred to Stephen Myler at 10.

Ulster’s team includes former Saints No.8 Roger Wilson, who makes his first return to Franklin’s Gardens since his summer departure.

Saints are desperate for a win as they currently sit three points adrift of RaboDirect PRO 12 leaders Ulster at the top of Pool 4.

And boss Jim Mallinder said: “Ulster have a strong winning habit this season and are coming to Franklin’s Gardens in the best possible form.

“Their squad is full of talented players who time and again this season have shown a never-say-die attitude and the ability to get the scores when they need them.

“It is going to be a massive challenge for us, we know that. But training has been very positive this week and we are coming into the game on the back of three successive wins ourselves.

“However all of the players know that they will have to take a step up from those performances and play for the full 80 minutes if we are to get the result we want.”

Teams: Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Waldouck, Elliott; Lamb, Roberts; Tonga’uiha, Hartley, Mujati; Manoa, Lawes; Clark, Wood, van velze

Replacements: Haywood, Waller, Doran-Jones, Sorenson, Dowson, Dickson, Myler, May.

Ulster: Payne; Bowe, Cave, Wallace, Trimble; Jackson, Pienaar; Court, Best, Afoa; Muller, Tuohy; Henderson, Henry, Wilson.

Replacements: Brady, Black, Lutton, Diack, Williams, Marshall, Marshall, Gilroy.