North set to be back to face Ospreys as Saints are handed injury boosts

George North is set to return in one of Saints' Champions Cup matches during December (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
George North is set to return in one of Saints' Champions Cup matches during December (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints have been handed a double second row boost with David Ribbans and Christian Day returning to full training.

And George North is also closing in on a comeback, although the Wales wing will not be available for Friday night's game against Newcastle Falcons at Franklin's Gardens.

Ribbans suffered an ankle injury in a Wanderers match against Newcastle in October.

But the lock was back in full training on Tuesday and could be in contention for this week's Aviva Premiership fixture.

Day is also ready to return after recovering from the bad cut to the knee he picked up during the Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat at Exeter Chiefs earlier this month.

North sustained a PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) problem in the Champions Cup defeat to Saracens last month, but looks set to feature in the same competition in the coming weeks.

"George is progressing well, he's running now but he won't be available until one of the Ospreys games (Saints face the Welsh region on December 9 and 17) - I'm not sure which one yet," Mallinder said.

"But we're pleased in the second row that as well as having our internationals returning, David Ribbans is back. He trained fully today, as did Christian Day.

"We've had a lot of injuries in certian positions, which has been frustrating, but sometimes that happens.

"We've got on with it, got through it and some of the lads have really worked hard over this period.

"With the internationals returning, it gives us a chance to freshen things up a little bit."

So will Mallinder be tempted to play the likes of Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes, who returned from England duty after completing a blemish-free autumn international series?

"We need to see how they are because clearly this is a massive game for us," the Saints boss said.

"I suppose in an ideal world you could look at resting them and getting them ready for the following week but we're not in that position so we need to consider bringing them back.

"Whether they start or they come off the bench, we'll have to decide."