sport

Northampton v Bath preview

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder has made two changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with Bath at Franklin's Gardens.

Mike Haywood and Ben Nutley come into the side for Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes who are on international duty with England.

Samu Manoa, who played on the flank against Worcester last week, takes Lawes' place in the second row.

Meanwhile, England hooker Rob Webber has been chosen to captain Bath for the first time.

Webber, who spent the first half of the season injured, has quickly established himself in the Bath team with performances full of aggression in the loose and accuracy in the tight.

He will be joined in the front row by Charlie Beech and Anthony Perenise, while the powerful lock partnership of Dominic Day and Dave Attwood is set to continue as Stuart Hooper nurses a sore neck and Ryan Caldwell recovers from a hip operation.

With Francois Louw also out of action, Mat Gilbert slots into the back row with Carl Fearns and Ben Skirving.

Tom Heathcote, who has spent the week training with Scotland, comes into the fly-half berth in place of the injured Stephen Donald and partners the experienced Peter Stringer in the half-backs.

The rest of the back-line is unchanged from that which beat London Irish at the Rec last weekend.

Nick Abendanon provides security and excitement at fullback, with Horacio Agulla and Tom Biggs outside him on the wings.

Kyle Eastmond and Matt Banahan continue developing their centre partnership, with the former league man again selected in the inside centre channel.