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Cohen back for Heineken Cup Opener

03 December 2003

Northampton Saints and England World Cup winning wing Ben Cohen will start Friday's opening Heineken Cup game against Llanelli Scarlets.

Fellow World Cup medal winners Paul Grayson and Steve Thompson will start the game at Stradey Park on the bench and Matt Dawson will be one of three travelling reserves.

Head coach Wayne Smith said: "It's great to have the England players back. You can see why they are World Cup winners.

"Regarding the selection, Ben has come in because James Brooks is away with the sevens and Paul Grayson will get some time on the field, as will Steve Thompson.

"Matt Dawson is just as keen but the coaching management made the decision a week ago that he was the most fatigued and could do with a few more days off."

Not included in the squad are injured players Matt Lord and John Leslie. Lord suffered torn ankle ligaments last week and could be out for two months and Leslie has ruptured a bicep but should be back to fitness next week.

This will the first time the two teams have met since Saints beat Llanelli in the semi-final of the 2000 Heineken Cup at the Madejski Stadium.

At the official launch of the Heineken Cup yesterday, Llanelli and Wales wing Mark Jones, said: "If you look at our last few years in the Heineken Cup, we have come to some mediocre ends. Northampton pinched that victory away from us in Reading and went on to win it. You wonder what would have been if we had won it. We are just looking forward to them coming down and it being a good rugby night."

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS

15 NICK BEAL (cc)
14 BRUCE REIHANA
13 Chris Hyndman
12 Mark Tucker
11 BEN COHEN
10 Shane Drahm
9 MARK ROBINSON
1 TOM SMITH
2 Dan Richmond
3 ROBBIE MORRIS
4 Jon Phillips
5 Rob Hunter
6 Grant Seely
7 Darren Fox
8 ANDREW BLOWERS (cc)

Replacements
16 STEVE THOMPSON
17 Chris Budgen
18 MARK CONNORS
19 Mark Soden
20 Johnny Howard
21 PAUL GRAYSON
22 JON SLEIGHTHOLME

 

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