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Mallinder "delighted" for Saints England stars

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that he is "delighted" for his England stars, despite them being unavailable for selection for the next few weeks of the Aviva Premiership campaign.

Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Lee Dickson have all been named in England's starting line-up for Saturday's clash against Australia at Twickenham, whilst Dylan Hartley and Ben Foden are amongst the replacements.

As a result, the quintet will all be missing for Northampton's trip to London Irish on Sunday as the Saints look to maintain their impressive start to the season.

Saints trio handed England nod

Courtney Lawes has been in superb form so far this season.
Courtney Lawes has been in superb form so far this season. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints stars Lee Dickson, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood have all been named in England's starting line-up for Saturday's crunch clash with Australia at Twickenham.

Lawes, who has made a blistering start to the Aviva Premiership season, has been rewarded for his fine form with a place in the second row alongside Joe Launchbury, whilst 26-year-old Wood keeps his spot at flanker.

Lee Dickson has been preferred at scrum-half to Leicester Tigers' Ben Youngs.

Meanwhile, Northampton captain Dylan Hartley will have to settle for a place on the bench after Tom Youngs was named at hooker.

Ben Foden has also been selected as one of the replacements.

England team to face Australia: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Marland Yarde (London Irish), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Replacements: Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), David Wilson (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)

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Saints ready for crunch clash

by Donovan Blake

Northampton Saints have been gearing up for their highly anticipated meeting with Leicester Tigers on Saturday.

Memories of the Saints defeat in last season's play-off final must be still fresh for their fans, but the players and coaches have moved on, including their Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Donovan Blake

Region's sports stars up for awards

Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell has been shortlisted for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month award
Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell has been shortlisted for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month award Credit: PA

Two of our region's sports stars have been shortlisted for awards in recognition of their fine starts to the season.

Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell is among three nominees for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month award for September alongside Bath's George Ford and Saracens flanker Jacques Burger.

The nomination is the latest boost for the 25-year-old, who was involved in his first England tour this summer in Argentina.

Ipswich Town's David McGoldrick has enjoyed a superb September
Ipswich Town's David McGoldrick has enjoyed a superb September Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Ipswich Town's David McGoldrick has also been nominated for a monthly award for his fine September form in the Sky Bet Championship.

The former Nottingham Forest forward hit four goals during the month, bagging braces against Middlesbrough and Brighton and Hove Albion.

He'll have to see off two former Norwich City players to land the award, with Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green and Burnley's Jason Shackell also shortlisted, alongside Reading midfielder Danny Guthrie.

Finally, Essex cricketer Reece Topley will find out later tonight if he's been named as the PCA's Young Player of the Year at the Association's awards ceremony in London.

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England boss keeps faith with Hartley

Stuart Lancaster Credit: PA

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said Dylan Hartley has made the elite squad due to his contrition.

Hartley, 27, is currently serving an 11 week suspension for verbally abusing a referee. Thbe suspension meant he missed the historic British Lions tour to Australia.

Lancaster says he has discussed the matter with Hartley.

"I had a long hard think about it and a long conversation with him. I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong.

"He accepts that and knows he needs a strong start to the season with Northampton as changes can be made with Rob Webber and David Paice pushing hard.

"Unfortunately, we can only have 33 in the Senior EPS but those who just missed out have plenty to offer.

"They are still very much in the international picture and there is flexibility built into the system that facilitates that."

Saints' sinner Hartley makes England elite squad

Dylan Hartley - retains England place Credit: PA

Northampton Saints Dylan Hartley has retained his place in England's senior elite player squad.

Lancaster's patience with Hartley has yet to be exhausted despite the Northampton hooker being suspended until September 1 for his latest encounter with the disciplinary authorities.

Hartley received an 11-week ban after he was sent off for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes in last season's Aviva Premiership final.

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