Northampton without Courtney Lawes for Leinster clash on Saturday

England lock only 50-50 for return game in Dublin; Dan Biggar trying to shake off toe injury

England secondrow Courtney Lawes will miss Saturday's Heineken champions Cup clash against Leinster at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday and is only rated 50-50 for the return encounter at the Aviva stadium the following week.

Lawes aggravated a hamstring problem in training prior to last weekend’s big home win over Leicester for the in-form side.

The former All Black prop Owen Franks also has a broken thumb that will sideline him until after Christmas but the Wales outhalf Dan Biggar is hopeful of being fit for this weekend having been forced to pull out on the eve of the Tigers game with a toe problem.

“I’m not going to use the word grumbly again because that’s how we described [the now-retired] Dylan Hartley’s knee but he’d got a niggly foot,” said Boyd. “He probably could have played last Saturday but he couldn’t kick. He didn’t train today but there’s no reason why he won’t play on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Northampton have told England to keep their hands off their highly-rated attack coach Sam Vesty following the decision of Eddie Jones's assistant Scott Wisemantel to return to Australia.

Vesty is among the brighter up-and-coming English coaches but the Saints’ director of rugby, Chris Boyd, says the club are not keen to see him poached by the English Rugby Football Union.

“I wouldn’t be releasing him that’s for sure,” said Boyd, who was instrumental in hiring Vesty from Worcester. “I suppose everybody’s got their price if it’s about money [but] Sam Vesty’s more about job than money I think . I’m pretty sure he’s happy with what he’s doing at the moment.” – Guardian