Lawes back to boost Saints on derby day

Courtney Lawes returns to face Tigers
Courtney Lawes returns to face Tigers

Courtney Lawes has handed Saints a derby-day boost after being declared fit to face Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Lawes missed last weekend's 35-32 Champions Cup win at Benetton due to a hamstring injury.

But the England star is ready to return against Tigers, taking the place of Api Ratuniyarawa in the second row.

Tom Wood also returns after being rested, and so does powerhouse wing Taqele Naiyaravoro.

George Furbank, who was so influential as a replacement in Italy last Saturday, starts at full-back, with Ahsee Tuala fit enough to be named on the bench.

Alex Waller comes in for Francois van Wyk at loosehead.

Meanwhile, Tigers include all six of their England World Cup stars in the starting line-up this weekend.

Jonny May makes his first appearance since the World Cup final.

Dan Cole, Ellis Genge, Ben Youngs, George Ford and Manu Tuilagi are also named in Geordan Murphy’s team.

Jaco Taute plays in the Gallagher Premiership for the first time, starting at centre alongside Tuilagi, and there are also recalls for Jonah Holmes, Tom Youngs, Calum Green and Sione Kalamafoni after sitting out the Challenge Cup win over Cardiff Blues last weekend.

Sam Lewis and Jordan Coghlan, who both started against the Blues in the Challenge Cup, are included among the replacements, but Hanro Liebenberg, Tommy Reffell, Will Spencer, Ifereimi Boladau, Jordan Taufua and Tatafu Polota-Nau are all ruled out.

Saints: Furbank; Collins, Proctor, Hutchinson, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (cc), Haywood, O Franks; Moon, Lawes; Wood, Ludlam, Harrison (cc).
Replacements: van Vuuren: van Wyk, Painter, Ratuniyarawa, Gibson, J Mitchell, Dingwall, Tuala.

​Leicester Tigers: Worth; May, Tuilagi, Taute, Holmes; Ford, B Youngs; Genge, T Youngs (c), Cole; Lavanini, Green; Wells, Thompson, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Kerr, Gigena, Leatigaga, Lewis, Coghlan, White, Reid, Forsyth.