Northampton Saints v Bayonne: Full team news for Friday's Investec Champions Cup clash

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Courtney Lawes returns to the Saints starting line-up for Friday’s crucial Investec Champions Cup clash with Bayonne at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 8pm).

Lawes, who was this week named Gallagher Premiership player of the month for December, came off the bench against Sale Sharks in the final game of 2023 and was then rested for last weekend’s match at Exeter Chiefs, but he is back at six for the European encounter.

Alex Waller also returns to start, having been ruled out last Saturday due to back spasms. Tarek Haffar is rested.

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Curtis Langdon, Temo Mayanavanua, Tom Pearson, Alex Mitchell, Fraser Dingwall and Tommy Freeman are back in the starting 15 after coming off the bench to help Saints win 42-36 at Sandy Park.

Courtney Lawes (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Courtney Lawes (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Courtney Lawes (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Tom James is available again after serving a three-match ban, and the scrum-half takes his place among the replacements.

Saints have opted for a 6:2 split, with Juarno Augustus one of the forwards named on the bench after recovering from concussion.

Burger Odendaal has been added to the injury list after suffering concussion in the win at Exeter.

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Paul Hill, Lewis Ludlam, George Hendy, Tom Seabrook and James Ramm remain sidelined.

Saints: Furbank (c); Freeman, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Sleightholme; F Smith, Mitchell; A Waller, Langdon, Davison; Mayanavanua, Coles; Lawes, Pearson, Graham.

Replacements: S Matavesi, Iyogun, Millar Mills, Moon, Augustus, Scott-Young, James, Litchfield.

Bayonne: Callandret; Megdoud, Tiberghien, Buliruarua, Baget; Dolhagaray, Machenaud; Cormenier, Bosch, Tatafu; Marchois (c), Leindekar; Bourdeau, Heguy, Bruni.

Replacements: Giudicelli, Perchaud, Cotet, Paulos, Cassiem, Labarbe, Spring, Lestrade.