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Premiership Rugby

Blowers and Peillard miss Bath clash

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Former All Black back-rower Blowers, who has been nominated for the Zurich overseas player of the season award, has been ruled out of the game with a concussion after receiving a blow to the head against Sale last week, while prop Peillard will miss the clash due to a calf injury.

Former England Under-19 and Leicester Tigers back row forward Mark Soden will replace Blowers in the starting XV, while the loss of Peillard sees former England Under-21 prop Brett Sturgess start at loosehead.

While the loss of Blowers is a big one, Smith has called in former All Black Mark Robinson to replace John Howard at scrum-half in his maiden start, while former Scotland centre John Leslie will start at inside centre with Mark Tucker moving to the outside berth and Chris Hyndman moving down to the bench.

Smith, meanwhile, is confident ahead of Saturday's game despite the loss of Blowers, Peillard and former Scotland skipper Budge Pountney (broken leg), who are all unavailable through injury.

"It is a mark of the quality of the players in this squad and the effort they have put in that we can go into this game with confidence, despite missing three players of this calibre," said the coach.

Northampton Saints: 15 Nick Beal, 14 Jon Sleightholme, 13 Mark Tucker, 12 John Leslie (co-captain), 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Shane Drahm, 9 Mark Robinson, 8 Mark Soden, 7 Darren Fox, 6 Mark Connors (co-captain, 5 Steve Williams, 4 Matt Lord, 3 Chris Budgen, 2 Dan Richmond, 1 Brett Sturgess. Replacements: 16 Johnny Howard, 17 Chris Hyndman, 18 Oriol Ripol, 19 Matt Miles, 20 RobbieMorris, 21 Jon Phillips, 22 Grant Seely.

Kick-off: 14.15 BST (13.15 GMT)

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