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Premiership Rugby

Blowers back for Northampton Saints

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The Scotland loosehead prop has played in 22 games out of 26 for the Saints so far this season and has played in every Test for his country, his namesake and coach giving him a well-deserved breather.

Smith's place will be filled by 20-year-old Academy apprentice prop Brett Sturgess, while Wales lock Steve Williams will also be rested and England's all-action hooker Steve Thompson will start the game on the bench.

"We felt that Tom Smith, Steve Williams and Steve Thompson needed a break. Matt Dawson has played a lot as well, but had a break by missing the first couple of games and Robbie Morris has not been involved as much. This is the right time to give them that break," explained Wayne Smith.

Returning to the starting XV following a four-week absence is former All Black flank Andrew Blowers, who will play at No.8. Blowers chipped a bone in his thumb in the Saints' last league game against Saracens.

Back rower Grant Seely is also back in the match-day 22 – that will be captained by former Scotland skipper John Leslie – after making a successful recovery from a knee injury.

Recalled England squad member Paul Grayson will start at halfback with regular partner Matt Dawson, no doubt hoping to impress Clive Woodward with injuries to Jonny Wilkinson and Charlie Hodgson, but injured England wing Ben Cohen remains sidelined.

Norhampton Saints: 15 Nick Beal, 14 James Brooks, 13 Peter Jorgensen, 12 John Leslie (captain), 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Paul Grayson, 9 Matt Dawson, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Budge Pountney, 6 Darren Fox, 5 Mark Connors, 4 Matt Lord, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Dan Richmond, 1 Brett Sturgess.Replacements: 16 Steve Thompson, 17 Mattie Stewart, 18 Rob Hunter, 19 Grant Seely, 20 Ian Vass, 21 Chris Hyndman, 22 Oriol Ripol.

Kick-off: 14.15 GMT


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