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Team news: Tigers at Saints

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Leicester Tigers make just two changes to the squad for the Aviva Premiership Round 18 fixture against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday following last weekend's bonus-point win over Exeter Chiefs.

Fourth in the Aviva Premiership table, level on 54 points with third-placed Bath, Tigers go into the East Midlands derby against a Saints side sitting in second place on 64 points.

In the only changes to the matchday squad following last Sunday’s 45-15 win against Exeter, Mathew Tait returns at full-back and there is a place among the replacements for back-rower Pablo Matera.

Second-rower Ed Slater leads the team as captain for the sell-out occasion at Franklin's Gardens.

Tigers No8 Jordan Crane makes his 100th Premiership start for the club.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Saints have been in good form this season, they’re in a good spot in the league and we need to go there and thrown everything at them.

“As much as the rivalry is intense, we know they’re a good club. The reason we’ve been good against them is that we respect them.

“It’s a big game for everyone but they’re the ones you look forward to playing in.

“The performance against Exeter last week was a real positive and it was obviously important to get the maximum points, but we won’t be getting carried away. We know where we need to be better.”

Saturday's game is being shown live on BT Sport.

Leicester Tigers (v Northampton Saints, away, Saturday 3.15pm)
15 Mathew Tait
14 Vereniki Goneva
13 Manusamoa Tuilagi
12 Anthony Allen
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Owen Williams
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Tom Youngs
3 Logovi’i Mulipola
4 Louis Deacon
5 Ed Slater (c)
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Graham Kitchener
20 Pablo Matera
21 David Mele
22 Toby Flood
23 Scott Hamilton

Northampton Saints
15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i; 1 Alex Waller, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 6 Calum Clark, 7 Phil Dowson, 8 Tom Wood
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 James Craig, 20 GJ Van Velze, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 James Wilson, 23 Ken Pisi