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Premiership Rugby

Dawson back for East Midlands derby

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

His England team mates Ben Cohen and Paul Grayson will miss the home game after being drafted into the England squad for the Zurich World Champion Challenge fixture against the New Zealand Barbarians game at Twickenham.

Hooker 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.

"I have been in a few East Midlands battles – but came off after only a few minutes the last time I played Leicester," said Dawson.

"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."

Both sides come into Saturday's game after losing their previous Zurich Premiership match; the Tigers succumbing to Bath 13-12 and the Saints falling to Gloucester 28-20.

Saturday’s game sold out six weeks ago but will be shown live on Sky Sports.

Northampton Saints: 15 Nick Beal, 14 John Clarke, 13 Chris Hyndman, 12 John Leslie (captain), 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Shane Drahm, 9 Matt Dawson, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Darren Fox, 6 Grant Seely, 5 Mark Connors, 4 Rob Hunter, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Dan Richmond, 1 Tom Smith.Replacements: 16 Matt Miles, 17 Chris Budgen, 18 Jon Phillips, 19 Mark Soden, 20 Jon Golding, 21 James Brooks, 22 Mark Robinson.

Kick-off: 14.45

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