Manoa gets the nod for huge clash with Tigers

Pictures by Linda Dawson
Pictures by Linda Dawson

Samu Manoa has been recalled to the Northampton Saints side for their huge derby clash with Leicester Tigers.

The American will line-up in the second row alongside Christian Day in front of a packed Franklin’s Gardens crowd tomorrow.

Both teams are coming into the game on the back of a string of positive performances and results, and with just three rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby remaining are very much in the hunt not just for a play-off spot but a home semi-final as well.

“It’s a big game,” director of rugby Jim Mallinder said.

“Obviously Leicester are our local rivals, but we know that we’ve got three games to go in the regular season and we want to win all three to give us a chance of a home semi-final.

“That’s what we’re aiming for and I’m sure that everyone’s going to be up for Saturday’s game.

“We’ve certainly been focused solely on tomorrow’s game this week and have not been talking about what has gone before. We’ve trained hard and have prepared for what’s going to come at us on Saturday.

“Leicester are physical up front and love the set piece, but they like to play a bit too and get on the front foot. So we’ll have to be at the top of our game.”

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill added: “Tigers versus Saints is always a big match, no matter what is at stake. Both teams are chasing a place in the semi-finals and this promises to be another big occasion.

“These are two good set-piece teams, with two good sets of backs, and these games have been great contests.”

Tomorrow’s game is completely sold out. However supporters can watch it live and exclusively on ESPN Classic.

Northampton Saints: Foden, Ashton, Pisi, Downey, Diggin, Lamb, Dickson; Tonga’uiha, Long, Mujati, Manoa, Day, Craig, Dowson, Wilson. Reps: McMillan, Waller, Doran Jones, Sorenson, Nutley, Roberts, Myler, May.

Leicester Tigers: Murphy, Agulla, M Tuilagi, Allen, A Tuilagi, Flood, B Youngs; Ayerza, Chuter, Cole, Skivington, Parling, Croft, Salvi, Waldrom. Reps: T Youngs, Castrogiovanni, Mulipola, Mafi, Newby, Harrison, Twelvetrees, Hamilton.