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Northampton Saints duo named in world team of the year

George North races for the line against Sale Sharks. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints stars George North and Alex Corbisiero have been named in the International Rugby Players Association World XV.

The pair have been picked by their fellow players, and are the only men to make the side from the Aviva Premiership.

Alex Corbisiero has been named as one of the props. Credit: PA

Unsurprisingly, there are seven players from World Champions New Zealand named in the team, whilst North's Wales teammates Leigh Halfpenny and Sam Warburton and Adam Jones were also selected.

IRPA Players' World XV of the Year:

15 - Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), 14 - Ben Smith (New Zealand), 13 - Conrad Smith (New Zealand), 12 - Wesley Fofana (France), 11 - George North (Wales), 10 - Aaron Cruden (New Zealand), 9 - Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

1 - Alex Corbisiero (England), 2 - Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), 3- Adam Jones (Wales), 4 - Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), 5 - Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 6 - Liam Messam (New Zealand), 7 - Sam Warburton (Wales), 8 - Kieran Read (New Zealand)

Northampton Saints issue George North statement

Northampton Saints have released a statement regarding a potential fine for releasing George North to play for Wales in this Saturday's clash with Australia.

"The Northampton Saints management has noted the media reports about a potential investigation of the club regarding George North and his playing for Wales outside the IRB window.

"Every player asks for specific conditions to be included in their agreements. This is not unusual in professional sport.

"In order to realise this rare opportunity of bringing a player like George to Franklin’s Gardens we agreed to allow him to represent Wales if and when selected.

"The Saints management wants to make it clear that our agreement with George has not contravened any laws, rules or regulations.

"However when it was finalised the agreement included terms for his release to play international rugby which were outside Premiership Rugby board policy.

"The Saints management has sought to build a squad that can compete in every tournament. This involves both establishing a strong production line of local talent and bringing in world class players when they become available.

"Sometimes this requires compromise, and while we appreciate that we are outside Premiership Rugby board policy with this particular agreement we also believe that having George as a Northampton Saints player has benefitted both the club and the league as a whole."

– Northampton Saints statement

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Northampton Saints set for George North fine?

George North makes a trademark break against Argentina. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints could face a fine for allowing George North to play for Wales in this weekend's match against Australia.

North has a clause in his Saints contract which allows him to play in all Wales Test matches, but Saturday's game falls outside the official window for autumn internationals.

Premiership Rugby will now investigate Northampton's decision to release him.

Saints stars keep their places for All Blacks test

Courtney Lawes, Lee Dickson and Tom Wood are among the Saints stars who will take the field against New Zealand. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints stars Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Lee Dickson and Ben Foden have all retained their starting spots for this weekend's final autumn international against New Zealand at Twickenham.

The quintet all played key parts in last Saturday's 31-12 victory over Argentina and have been selected again by Head Coach Stuart Lancaster for the showdown with the All Blacks.

Saints skipper Hartley will earn his 50th cap for England in the fixture, whilst Norfolk-born brothers Tom and Ben Youngs have been named as replacements.

England team to face New Zealand:

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)

Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Replacements:

Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Matt Mullan (London Wasps), David Wilson (Bath), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Alex Goode (Saracens)

Saints star Pisi handed six-week ban

George Pisi has been handed a six-week ban. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints centre George Pisi has been given a six-week ban following a tackle while playing for Samoa against Ireland on Saturday.

Pisi was cited for a dangerous tackle on Ireland wing Tommy Bowe during Samoa's 40 points to 9 defeat in Dublin.

The ban means he'll miss three Premiership matches, plus Saints' European double-header against Leinster.

Alex Corbisiero will play no part against New Zealand. Credit: PA

Meanwhile Saints and England prop Alex Corbisiero has been ruled out of Saturday's match against New Zealand after a reoccurrence of a knee injury.

The 25-year-old was rated as a doubt and has now failed to sufficiently prove his fitness.

Young Saints hope to seize opportunity

Northampton Saints' match against Gloucester could be a chance for a few new faces to impress.

It's likely to be youthful team that steps out in the Anglo-Welsh cup tomorrow while their team-mates are away on international duty.

Earlier this week the Saints, including youngster Ben Nutley, took a break from training to try some go-karting at one of the town's circuits.

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Ben Youngs ruled out of Pumas clash

Ben Youngs has been ruled out of the clash with Argentina. Credit: PA

Norfolk-born Ben Youngs has been ruled out of England's autumn international against Argentina on Saturday after failing a fitness test.

The Leicester Tigers man has been suffering with a hip injury and has been deemed to not be fit enough to take his place on the replacements bench for the clash with the Pumas.

24-year-old Youngs has been replaced by Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care.

Hartley reclaims starting spot for Pumas clash

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley has been recalled to the England starting line-up against Argentina. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley has been recalled to the England starting line-up for this weekend's clash with Argentina at Twickenham.

The 27-year-old replaces Tom Youngs at hooker as part of a new look front row which will also include Joe Marler and David Wilson.

Ben Foden has been named on the wing against the Pumas. Credit: PA

Hartley is one of five Saints to be included in the side, with Lee Dickson, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood retaining their places from last weekend's triumph over Australia, and Ben Foden stepping up from the replacements' bench to take his spot on the wing in place of the injured Marland Yarde.

Northampton prop Alex Corbisiero makes his return to the bench after recovering from a knee injury, whilst Norfolk-born Tom and Ben Youngs are also amongst the substitutes.

England team to face Argentina:

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)

Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), David Wilson (Bath), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Replacements: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Alex Goode (Saracens)

Saints winger handed Welsh start

Northampton Saints winger George North has been named in the Wales side for the clash with South Africa. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints winger George North has been named in the Wales side for this weekend's opening autumn international against South Africa.

The 21-year-old has been a regular in the welsh line-up since making his debut in 2010, and performed a starring role in this summer's Lions series.

North will take up his usual position on the wing, with debutant Eli Walker also part of the back three.

Wales team to face South Africa:

Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Eli Walker (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Unattached).

Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, captain), Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons)

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.

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