Aviva Premiership
Hartley only fit for Premiership final bench
ESPN Staff
May 30, 2014
Dylan Hartley has been out of action with a shoulder injury since March © Getty Images

Northampton Saints welcome back captain Dylan Hartley for Saturday's Aviva Premiership final against Saracens, but the hooker is only fit enough to take his place on the bench.

Hartley, who has not played since sustaining a shoulder injury in March, will be anxious to play a part in the final at Twickenham, having been shown a red card in last year's showpiece against old rivals Leicester.

Tom Wood is named captain in the Northampton starting XV, which sees Kahn Fotuali'i replace Lee Dickson at scrum-half in the team that defeated Bath to lift the Amlin Challenge Cup last Friday. Salesi Ma'afu is the other change, returning to the front row in place of Tom Mercey.

Saracens are boosted by the news that captain Steve Borthwick is fit to lead them in his final match before retirement. The veteran lock will sign off from a 16-year career after Saturday's final.

Saracens are without their England prop Mako Vunipola, who has been ruled out with injury. He is replaced by Richard Barrington in the team that was resoundingly beaten by Toulon in last Saturday's Heineken Cup final. Richard Wigglesworth also drops out of the XV, with Neil de Kock securing a starting role.

Owen Farrell has recovered from a slight ankle sprain to take the No.10 jersey, news which will come as a boost to England head coach Stuart Lancaster. He will welcome Farrell into the squad for the tour to New Zealand after the final, most likely in time for the second Test in Dunedin.


15 Alex Goode; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle; 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock; 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Schalk Brits, 3 Matt Stevens, 4 Steve Borthwick, 5 Mouritz Botha, 6 Kelly Brown, 7 Jacques Burger, 8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements; 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 James Johnston, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles

Northampton Saints

15 Ben Foden; 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North; 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i; 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Mike Haywood, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 4 Samu Manoa, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Calum Clark, 7 Tom Wood, 8 Sam Dickinson

Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Christian Day, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 James Wilson, 23 Tom Stephenson

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