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A sell-out crowd is attending the 244th East Midlands derby, a fixture where Northampton have won five of their last six meetings with Tigers in all competitions.
Saints are also unbeaten in their last three league matches on home soil, but they have been dealt a huge blow in the run-up to kick-off as Courtney Lawes, Owen Franks and Dan Biggar have all been ruled out after failing late fitness tests.
Api Ratuniyarawa comes into the second row in place of Lawes, with Alex Coles taking his spot amongst the replacements. Ehren Painter will start at tighthead prop instead of Franks, with Paul Hill coming onto the bench. And James Grayson will wear the No.10 jersey for Saints in a straight swap for the injured Biggar.
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Leicester, meanwhile, include all six of the club’s England World Cup squad in their starting XV. Jonny May makes his first appearance since the World Cup final, with international colleagues Dan Cole, Ellis Genge, Ben Youngs, George Ford and Manu Tuilagi also all named in Geordan Murphy’s team.
Jaco Taute plays in the Gallagher Premiership for the first time, starting at centre alongside Tuilagi, and there is also a recall for Jonah Holmes, Tom Youngs, Calum Green and Sione Kalamafoni after sitting out the European Challenge Cup win over Cardiff last weekend.
A southern hemisphere Test country has apparently taken an interest in Leicester's Mike Fordhttps://t.co/QW2rWIWSPs
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 29, 2019
Sam Lewis and Jordan Coghlan, who both started against the Blues, are included among the replacements this week but Hanro Liebenberg, Tommy Reffell, Will Spencer, Ifereimi Boladau, Jordan Taufua and Tatafu Polota-Nau are all ruled out.
Head coach Murphy said: “We were poor in our last Premiership outing at London Irish but it has been good for the whole squad to get two good results in Europe over the last two weeks. Now we have a tough challenge at Saints who have started the season really well.”
NORTHAMPTON: 15 George Furbank; 14 Tom Collins, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro; 10 James Grayson, 9 Cobus Reinach; 1 Alex Waller (co-capt), 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Ehren Painter, 4 Alex Moon, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 8 Teimana Harrison (co-capt). Reps: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Fraser Dingwall, 23 Ahsee Tuala.
LEICESTER: 15 George Worth; 14 Jonny May, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Jonah Holmes; 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (capt), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Tomas Lavanini, 5 Calum Green, 6 Harry Wells, 7 Guy Thompson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni. Reps: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Sam Lewis, 20 Jordan Coghlan, 21 Ben White, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Andy Forsyth.
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