Saints wing Pisi returns against Tigers

Ken Pisi will make his first appearance since September when Saints take on Leicester Tigers in a key Premiership Rugby Cup clash at Franklin's Gardens tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Friday, 25th January 2019, 12:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:04 pm
Ken Pisi returns to action for Saints tomorrow

Pisi suffered a shoulder injury in the game against Harlequins on September 7 and had to have surgery to rectify the issue.And after more than four months on the sidelines, the Samoan wing has been handed a start against Tigers.James Haskell is also set to make his comeback, having been named among the replacements.Haskell had an ankle operation in November but is now fit again and ready to get some minutes under his belt.Saints have named a strong squad to take on Tigers, knowing a bonus-point win will book a place in the semi-finals.The likes of Tom Collins, Cobus Reinach, Heinrich Brüssow and Teimana Harrison, who will skipper Saints, all return to the starting line-up after last Friday's 111-3 Challenge Cup thrashing of Timisoara Saracens.And there is also plenty of strength on the bench, with Haskell, Ahsee Tuala and Andrew Kellaway among those ready to make their mark as replacements.Saints' absentee list has really cleared up, with only Andy Symons, Harry Mallinder, Tom Emery, Mike Haywood, Dylan Hartley and Piers Francis missing due to injury

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For Leicester, Tom Varndell and Italy international wing Leonardo Sarto both start.Varndell made his last appearance for the club in the Premiership semi-final win over Bath in 2009 before spells with Wasps, Scarlets, Bristol and in France, and he comes into the team after playing for Nottingham in the last two weeks.Sarto, who has eight tries in 34 Test appearances, joins Varndell and Jordan Olowofela in the back three, and Sam Aspland-Robinson starts for the first time in a Tigers shirt.Coach Brett Deacon includes England Under-20s caps Joe Heyes and Sam Lewis, and Wales Under-20s captain Tommy Reffell in the forward pack in a team captained by Harry Wells.Academy prospects Taylor Gough, Jonny Law and Freddie Steward are among the replacements alongside loan signing Curtis Wilson, from Doncaster Knights.Former Saints hooker Ross McMillan starts, while another ex-Northampton forward, Campese Ma'afu, is on the bench.Saints: Furbank; Pisi, Tuitavake, Hutchinson, Collins; Grayson, Reinach; van Wyk, Fish, Franks; Ratuniyarawa, Barrow; Gibson, Brüssow, Harrison.Replacements: Marshall, Davis, Painter, Moon, Haskell, Davies,Tuala, Kellaway.Leicester Tigers: Olowofela, Sarto, Aspland-Robinson, Hardwick, Varndell, J Ford, White; Gigena, McMillan, Heyes; Lewis, Wells (c); Reffell, Evans, Tuilagi.Replacements: Mahohey, Ma’afu, Feao, Jordan, Gough, Law, Wilson, Steward.

James Haskell is ready to return