It does seem a long shot that either side will make a late surge for the top four, this game will therefore be all about bragging rights. The victor will likely finish the season above their fierce rivals, plenty of incentive.

Both sides see a lot of change due to the welcome return of international players who were on Six Nations duty. In recent times Northampton have held the upper hand winning three of the previous four meetings. Prior to this Northampton managed only two wins since 2012.

Leicester welcome back five players from international duty with England, Manu Tuilagi, Dan Cole, Ellis Genge, Jonny May and George Ford all start. There are also returns from injury to the starting lineup for scrum half Sam Harrison and flanker Brendon O’Connor.

Saints make eight changes in all to the team which won the Premiership Rugby Cup impressively last time out against Saracens. Dan Biggar, who performed magnificently for Wales in the Six Nations, returns at out half and will be joined at half back by the returning Cobus Reinach. In the front row James Fish and Francois Van Wyk come in. Flankers Jamie Gibson and Heinrich Brussow both come into the pack having been rested. In the centre Rory Hutchinson gets the nod and on the wing Tom Collins starts.

Despite the decline of the two sides in recent years this still promises to be action packed with plenty of quality on show. The Welford Road crowd should just be the deciding factor in the outcome of the game.

 

Written by Stefan Hamilton

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