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Dawson back for East Midlands Derby

18 December 2003

Northampton Saints' World Cup winning scrum-half Matt Dawson will start Saturday's East Midlands derby against Leicester Tigers.

His England team mates Ben Cohen and Paul Grayson will not play for Saints this weekend as they have been drafted into the England squad for the New Zealand Barbarians game at Twickenham. Steve Thompson was also due to play for England but turned an ankle in training yesterday and may be out of action for up to three weeks.

Dawson said today: "I have been in a few East Midlands battles - but came off after only a few minutes the last time I played Leicester. I expect they will target me again, but I am used to that after the past two or three months.

"We had an OK performance against Agen last week. We played well but there are improvements to be made and we have got to try to do that against one of the best packs and improving back-lines."

Saturday's game sold out six weeks ago. It is being shown live from 2.30pm on Sky Sports.

Northampton Saints

15 NICK BEAL
14 John Clarke
13 Chris Hyndman
12 JOHN LESLIE (capt)
11 BRUCE REIHANA
10 Shane Drahm
9 MATT DAWSON
1 TOM SMITH
2 Dan Richmond
3 ROBBIE MORRIS
4 Rob Hunter
5 MARK CONNORS
6 Grant Seely
7 Darren Fox
8 ANDREW BLOWERS

Replacements
16 Matt Miles
17 Chris Budgen
18 Jon Phillips
19 Mark Soden
20 Jon Golding
21 James Brooks
22 MARK ROBINSON