Aviva Premiership: Sunday preview

Last Updated: 23/02/14 8:16am

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Ben Foden is in line to make his first appearance in three months when Northampton travel to Aviva Premiership strugglers Newcastle on Sunday.

The full-back has not played since sustaining a knee injury in the reverse league fixture back in November and has been named on the bench by Saints chief Jim Mallinder.

Elsewhere, scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i replaces Lee Dickson, who is on England Six Nations duty, and lock Christian Day has recovered from a leg injury, with Sam Dickinson moving back to number eight.

Hosts Newcastle have lost their last eight league matches - a run of defeats that stretches back to November - and boss Dean Richards has made three changes to the side that was narrowly beaten by Harlequins last weekend.

Scotland hooker Scott Lawson, who starts against Italy on Saturday, is replaced by Matt Thompson, while prop Oliver Tomaszczyk takes over from Kieran Brookes and Ally Hogg returns at number eight.

O'Leary banned for Exiles

London Irish boss Brian Smith makes one enforced change as the Exiles welcome Leicester to the Madejski Stadium.

Scrum-half Tomas O'Leary was sent off for stamping in last weekend's tense win over Wasps and is now serving a three-week ban, so Darren Allinson is called up, while England wing Marland Yarde is set to begin his comeback from injury off the bench.

Lock Ed Slater will lead Leicester for the very first time with regular skipper Toby Flood starting on the bench.

Owen Williams gets the nod at fly-half and Vereniki Goneva starts in midfield, while two changes up front see starts for hooker Rob Hawkins and second-row forward Louis Deacon.

Sarries shuffle pack

Saracens boss Mark McCall has rotated his squad for Sunday's clash against Exeter as No.8 Ernst Joubert captains a team that sees call-ups for the likes of Richard Barrington, Schalk Brits and James Johnston.

England international centres Brad Barritt and Joel Tomkins team up in midfield, while Ben Ransom starts at full-back.

England Saxons cap Henry Slade comes into the Exeter three-quarters following last weekend's home defeat against Bath as Phil Dollman moves to full-back.

There is also a start for Tonga international wing Fetu'u Vainikolo, but the Chiefs pack remains unchanged for the trip to Allianz Park.

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