Northampton hope for turnaround with England internationals returning back

England captain Dylan Hartley will be back in club action with Northampton this weekend
England captain Dylan Hartley will be back in club action with Northampton this weekend
©PA

Northampton Saints will be hoping to arrest their losing stride with England internationals Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes returning back ahead of the Aviva Premiership clash against Newcastle Falcons on Friday.

The Saints bounced back from a defeat to Saracens in the opening game with four consecutive wins but now find themselves at seventh place after losing the previous four rounds.

Hartley and Lawes will feature in the starting XV while Rob Horne also returns to the line-up after completing his suspension period.

Meanwhile, the Falcons will also head into the Friday's encounter with four successive defeats and rugby director Dean Richards has urged his team to be wary of a strengthened Northampton team.

"There are no easy games in the Aviva Premiership and Northampton will be another big challenge.

"They'll be buoyed by the fact they're getting the England captain back in Dylan Hartley and guys like Courtney Lawes.

"They'll be a difficult nut to crack but we beat them down there last season, so it holds no fears for us in that sense.

"You go through blips, highs and lows during a season, and at this moment in time we haven't been performing as strongly as we were earlier on.

"Defensively we have allowed ourselves to slip and in attack we've not been scoring the tries, so we just need to pick it up."

Vereniki Goneva, Josh Matavesi, Chris Harris, Sonatane Takulua, Kyle Cooper, Calum Green and Gary Graham are all back in Richards' starting XV.

"It's great to have our own international boys back," Richards said. "We're delighted to have that bigger pool to choose from and I always look forward to game day."

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Aviva Premiership Rugby 2017/18 - Points Table