Northampton Saints’ World Cup winning scrum-half Matt Dawson will start Saturday’s East Midlands derby against Leicester Tigers.
His England team mates Ben Cohen and Paul Grayson will not play for Saints this weekend as they have been drafted into the England squad for the New Zealand Barbarians game at Twickenham. Steve Thompson was also due to play for England but turned an ankle in training yesterday and may be out of action for up to three weeks.
Dawson said today: “I have been in a few East Midlands battles – but came off after only a few minutes the last time I played Leicester. I expect they will target me again, but I am used to that after the past two or three months.
“We had an OK performance against Agen last week. We played well but there are improvements to be made and we have got to try to do that against one of the best packs and improving back-lines.”
Saturday’s game sold out six weeks ago. It is being shown live from 2.30pm on Sky Sports.
15 NICK BEAL14 John Clarke13 Chris Hyndman12 JOHN LESLIE (capt)11 BRUCE REIHANA10 Shane Drahm9 MATT DAWSON1 TOM SMITH2 Dan Richmond3 ROBBIE MORRIS4 Rob Hunter5 MARK CONNORS6 Grant Seely7 Darren Fox8 ANDREW BLOWERS
Replacements16 Matt Miles17 Chris Budgen18 Jon Phillips19 Mark Soden20 Jon Golding21 James Brooks22 MARK ROBINSON