Big guns left at home as Saints ring the changes for trip to Leinster

Saints have opted for a big shake-up in Saturday's Champions Cup clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).

Friday, 16th December 2016, 12:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 10:05 am
DUBLIN DATE - Kieran Brookes returns to the Saints team after his suspension

Jim Mallinder has made a massive 10 changes to the team that was beaten 37-10 by the Irish giants at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday.

Mike Haywood, Tom Wood, Louis Picamoles and Ben Foden are among a group of regular first-team players rested.

That gives Charlie Clare a chance to start at hooker, with James Fish, who was only registered to play in Europe this week, on the bench.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

George Pisi captains Saints in Dublin

Ethan Waller and Tom Collins are also in the side, with Kieran Brookes and Calum Clark returning from suspension to start in Dublin.

James Craig and Api Ratuniyarawa form a new-look second-row partnership, with Courtney Lawes and Christian Day not involved.

George Pisi captains the side from outside centre and he is joined in the midfield by JJ Hanrahan, who is fit enough to start after taking a knock against Leinster last week.

As for Leinster, they are without fly-half Joey Carbery and full-back Rob Kearney, who both picked up injuries at the Gardens last week.

George Pisi captains Saints in Dublin

Ross Byrne comes in at 10, with Zane Kirchner at full-back, but the Irish side have named a very similar team to the one that won with ease in Northampton.

Leinster: Kirchner; A Byrne, Ringrose, Henshaw, Nacewa (c); R Byrne, L McGrath; J McGrath, Cronin, Furlong; Toner, Triggs; O’Brien, van der Flier, Heaslip.

Replacements: Tracy, Healy, Bent, Ruddock, Conan, Gibson-Park, Reid, O’Loughlin.

Saints: Tuala; K Pisi, G Pisi (c), Hanrahan, Collins; Myler, Groom; E Waller, Clare, Brookes; Craig, Ratuniyarawa; Gibson, Clark, Harrison.

Replacements: Fish, A Waller, Hill, Paterson, Nutley, Kessell, Hutchinson, Wilson.