Premiership semi-final: Toby Flood back in the fold as Leicester Tigers call for old guard
Nine players rested for last weekend's league victory over Saracens have been recalled to the starting line-up to face Northampton
Toby Flood, something of a marginalised figure at Leicester since confirming plans to play Top 14 rugby in France next season, will be back in the thick of things on Friday night when the reigning English champions square up to Northampton in a highly charged Premiership semi-final at Franklin's Gardens.
The England international outside-half has been selected ahead of Welsh playmaker Owen Williams and will be expected to plot a route through the most hazardous of rugby minefields.
Leicester have not been shy in summoning their most experienced hands: nine players rested for last weekend's league victory over Saracens have been recalled to the starting line-up, including the Fijian wing Vereniki Goneva, the Lions scrum-half Ben Youngs, the Argentine prop Marcos Ayerza and the uncapped English lock Ed Slater, who reclaims the captaincy from Louis Deacon. Another of the Youngs brothers, hooker Tom, returns to the front row a few days after announcing that he will miss England's summer tour of New Zealand to help nurse his wife, who has fallen ill.
Northampton have also made changes for this eagerly awaited collision: the centre George Pisi, the scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i, the lock Samu Manoa and the flanker Tom Wood all start after being benched for last week's runaway victory over Wasps. The inclusion of Fotuali'i ahead of Lee Dickson suggests that the Samoan international has won his season-long battle for supremacy.
The last time a Midlands derby was played under knock-out rules, all hell broke loose. The scene was Twickenham almost a year ago; the occasion was the Premiership final. Dylan Hartley, the Northampton captain, was sent off for calling the referee a "cheat", prefixing the word with a well-known Anglo-Saxonism, and Leicester took full advantage to win 37-17.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre