Hill handed rare start as Saints travel to Tigers

Paul Hill starts for the first time since the defeat at Exeter in November (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Paul Hill starts for the first time since the defeat at Exeter in November (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Paul Hill will make his first start for Saints since November when the black, green and gold travel to Leicester Tigers on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

With Kieran Brookes and Jamal Ford-Robinson both injured, Hill lines up at tighthead for the first time since the Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat at Exeter Chiefs on November 4.

James Craig is also back in the pack, returning from a knee injury to start in the second row for the first time since that Exeter game earlier this season.

Mitch Eadie makes his first appearance in the first 15 since the Champions Cup defeat at Saracens in January.

Eadie's presence at No.8 means Teimana Harrison switches to seven, with former Tigers player Jamie Gibson completing the back row picture.

Mike Haywood returns at hooker, replacing the injured Reece Marshall.

Dylan Hartley remains sidelined with concussion.

The other change comes in the back line, with Ben Foden coming in for Nafi Tuitavake on the wing.

Rob Horne skippers Saints for the first time from the centres.

Northampton still have a lengthy injury list that includes Courtney Lawes (knee), Tom Wood (groin) and Heinrich Brüssow (hamstring).

But they are boosted by the return of Alex Waller and Luther Burrell on the bench.

Leicester are able to name England scrum-half Ben Youngs among their replacements after his recovery from injury.

Tigers make two changes to the team that beat Bath at Twickenham last weekend, with Tom Youngs and Matt Smith coming in for Tatafu Polota-Nau and Mathew Tait respectively.

Leicester Tigers: Veainu; Thompstone, Smith, Toomua, May; Ford, Harrison; Genge, T Youngs (c), Cole; Fitzgerald, Kitchener; Mapapalangi, Hamilton, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Polota-Nau, Bateman, Mulipola, Wells, Evans, B Youngs, Worth, Holmes.

Saints: Tuala; Foden, Horne (c), Francis, North; Myler, Reinach; Ma'afu, Haywood, Hill; Ratuniyarawa, Craig; Gibson, Harrison, Eadie.

Replacements: Clare, Waller, Painter, Paterson, Nutley, Mitchell, Burrell, Collins.