Tom Wood returns to captain Northampton Saints in Friday’s Champions Cup match at Franklin’s Gardens (KO 7.45pm, live BT Sport).

There are four changes in total from the team that lost away to Leicester Tigers last week in the Premiership.

In the backs, Ken Pisi and Nic Groom both start, while Courtney Lawes joins Wood in the pack.

France’s Louis Picamoles is named in the back row, with England hooker Dylan Hartley included among the replacements.

Former Munster man JJ Hanrahan starts at inside centre.

Saints come into the game on the back of two defeats in the Premiership, though Leo Cullen’s men will know how dangerous the English side can be.

The two teams met in the pool stages of Europe back in December 2013 with Leinster leaving Franklin’s Gardens convincing winners, 40-7. But Northampton came to Aviva Stadium the following week with a point to prove and won, denying Leinster a losing bonus point in the process.

Ahead of the game this Friday, Saints head coach Dorian West said:

“It’s a big game and we’ve had really good training sessions with the guys this week. We’ve enjoyed it, there’s been a real buzz about the players, they’re excited.

“We’ve got all of our internationals back and with them all here we’ve had some really good sessions so it’s promising for the weekend.”

Leinster Rugby face Northampton Saints in Aviva Stadium on 17th December with tickets on sale now from Ticketmaster.

Leinster v Northampton

Northampton Saints

15. Ben Foden
14. Ken Pisi
13. Luther Burrell
12. JJ Hanrahan
11. Jamie Elliott
10. Stephen Myler
9. Nic Groom
1. Alex Waller
2. Mikey Haywood
3. Paul Hill
4. Michael Paterson
5. Courtney Lawes
6. Jamie Gibson
7. Tom Wood CAPTAIN
8. Louis Picamoles


16. Dylan Hartley
17. Ethan Waller
18. Gareth Denman
19. Api Ratuniyarawa
20. Teimana Harrison
21. Tom Kessell
22. George Pisi
23. Ahsee Tuala