Mallinder starts at fly-half in Saints’ season opener against Bath

PERFECT 10 - Harry Mallinder will start Saturday's season opener against Bath at fly-half
PERFECT 10 - Harry Mallinder will start Saturday's season opener against Bath at fly-half
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Harry Mallinder has been handed the No.10 shirt for Saints’ Aviva Premiership opener against Bath at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off 3.30pm).

Stephen Myler will start the game on the bench, with George North, Nic Groom, Paul Hill and Teimana Harrison also among a strong set of replacements.

Louis Picamoles will make his competitive debut after joining during the summer, with Jamie Gibson and captain Tom Wood completing an impressive back row.

With Mike Haywood unavailable, hooker Charlie Clare, who has joined Saints from Bedford Blues, could make his debut.

Bath are without a number of big names, including Anthony Watson, Francois Louw and Luke Charteris.

But new boss Todd Blackadder is able to call on Kahn Fotuali’i, who lines up at scrum-half on his first appearance for the west country club.

Fotuali’i will be making his first return to Franklin’s Gardens, having left Saints after his contract expired during the summer.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, Tuala; Mallinder, Dickson; A Waller, Hartley, Brookes; Lawes, Paterson; Wood (c), Gibson, Picamoles.

Replacements: Clare, Ma’afu, Hill, Dickinson, Harrison, Groom, Myler, North.

Bath: Homer, Rokoduguni, Joseph, Clark, Banahan; Ford, Fotuali’i; Catt, Batty, Thomas; Ewels, Attwood; Garvey (c), Denton, Faletau.

Replacements: Dunn, Auterac, Palma-Newport, Sisi, Ellis, Cook, Priestland, Williams.