JJ Hanrahan will line out at inside centre when Northampton Saints welcome Leinster to Franklin’s Gardens for the first leg of the Christmas back-to-back games tomorrow, writes Gavin Spillane.
The former Munster playmaker has returned from an ankle injury sustained at the beginning of the season and made his first appearance of the season in Northampton’s 18-14 defeat at the hands of Leicester Tigers.
The Kerryman now teams up with England outcast Luther Burrell in the midfield against Leinster while veteran fly-half Stephen Myler takes the reins once again at fly-half.
Coming off the back of an undefeated calendar year, England captain Dylan Hartley takes his place on the bench, as does flanker Teimana Harrison.
Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood start in the Round 3 clash alongside France juggernaut Louis Picamoles.
Northampton Saints team: B Foden; K Pisi, L Burrell, JJ Hanrahan, J Elliott, S Myler, N Groom; A Waller, M Haywood, P Hill; M Paterson, C Lawes; J Gibson, T Wood (capt.), L Picamoles
Replacements: D Hartley, E Waller, G Denman, A Ratuniyarawa, T Harrison, T Kessell, G Pisi, A Tuala