Leicester v Northampton - Aviva Premiership final match preview

Last Updated: 25/05/13 2:38pm

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Leicester have opted to keep changes to a minimum as they look to claim the Aviva Premiership title against Northampton at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Tigers have been regular visitors to the end-of-season showpiece, with this set to be their ninth successive appearance in the final.

However they have won just three times - and lost to Harlequins and Saracens in their last two appearances.

Richard Cockerill has opted to make just a solitary change to his squad following the semi-final win over Quins, with Ed Slater coming on to the bench in place of Thomas Waldrom.

Leicester have already beaten their East Midlands rivals twice this season, including a 36-8 rout at Franklin's Gardens in March, but Tigers hooker Tom Youngs said: "Form goes out of the window, previous games go out of the window.

"It's a final, a one-off game, and that is all you've got to focus on. A lot of Saints players are international players, so they will have played in big games."

Motivators

The Saints have been forced into one change for their first trip to Twickenham.

Northampton, who shocked table-topping Saracens in the semi-final, have called in the vastly experienced Phil Dowson for the clash after Calum Clark was ruled out.

Clark, who is due to tour Argentina with England in the summer, picked up a knock in training so Dowsons starts and Ben Nutley comes in on the bench.

There is another change among the replacements, with George Pisi preferred to Tom May as cover for the three-quarters.

Northampton captain Dylan Hartley told SaintsTV: "We've been through heartache and disappointment in recent years, as well as our good times, and games like the Aviva Premiership semi-finals and at the Millennium Stadium are massive motivators for us.

"Fans and players alike all suffer the disappointments, so hopefully this weekend we can give ourselves something to celebrate instead."

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Graham Kitchener, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Tom Croft, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Jordan Crane.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Fraser Balmain, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 James Wilson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 3 Brian Mujati, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 6 Phil Dowson, 7 Tom Wood, 8 Samu Manoa.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Ben Nutley, 20 GJ Van Velze, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 George Pisi

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