Ruaraidh Britton talks to Courtney Lawes about the Saints trip to London Irish…
England flanker Courtney Lawes will lead Saints for the second time this season today and warned their opponents London Irish will be no mugs.
He said: “Every game’s tough nowadays in the league, and London Irish are a big pack and they’ve got some really good players in their team. If we’re not in good form then they’ll turn us over no doubt”.
Northampton make one change to their line up with Sam Dickinson replacing Teimana Harrison after he injured his shoulder in last weeks bonus-point win over Bath.
London Irish have conceded a total of 102 points this season so far, the most of any team in the Premiership, making their bonus point win over Harlequins even more crucial to their season.
They make five changes, with Johnny Williams making his first start of the 2017-18 season.
Northampton sit five places above Irish in the table in sixth despite being hammered in their first away game at Saracens and look to improve on their form away from home having lost their last three.
The last six meetings with the Exiles have seen the East Midlanders’ prevail, with their last loss coming on Boxing Day at the Madejski Stadium in 2015 when Irish came out winners in a closely fought 25-23 victory.
But skipper Lawes has said he wants to avoid his side getting too comfortable after picking up nine points in two games.
He said the memory of the opening day nightmare at Twickenham will help focus minds.
He told NeneQuirer “The Sarries game was just a bit of a weird game” after the north London side ran nine tries past the Saints defence.
“The boys had a really really good pre-season, and we wanted to come out and have a really good start and unfortunately it didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”
London Irish: T Bell; Lewington, Tikoirotuma, Williams, Nalaga; Marshall, McKibbin; Franks (capt), Porecki, Du Plessis, Van der Merwe, De Chaves, McNally, Gilsenan, Cowan
Replacements: Paice, Elrington, Hoskins, Paulo, Schatz, Steele, Tonks, Ojo
Northampton: Tuala; North, Horne, Burrell, Collins; Mallinder, Groom; Waller, Haywood, Hill, Paterson, Ribbans, Lawes (capt), Gibson, Dickinson.
Replacements: Marshall, Ma’afu, Brookes, Day, Ludlam, Reinach, Grayson, Foden.