Ben Youngs hands Leicester Tigers huge boost
Leicester Tigers have received a huge boost ahead of Saturday's feud with bitter local rivals Northampton Saints.
Scrum-half Ben Youngs has been released from England's Elite Player squad and will play for his club at Welford Road.
Aussie open-side flanker Julian Salvi has recovered from a broken hand and is also likely to take his place in the starting line-up.
With Jordan Crane also passed fit, despite leaving the Gloucester game in the first half with injury, and Geordan Murphy and Louis Deacon in the mix having made their return from injury last weekend, Leicester at least have some comfort from the start of an autumn period which will severely test their resources.
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Youngs was due to start at Gloucester last weekend but dropped out on the day of the game with a tight hamstring.
He joined up with the England squad on Sunday but, having played only three games this season after recovering from shoulder surgery in the summer, head coach Stuart Lancaster has agreed to let Youngs return to Leicester and play against Northampton, instead of resting him ahead of the Test with Fiji a week on Saturday.
"The discussions with Stuart about Ben were straightforward because he holds all the cards," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill (inset).
"If he wants him to play, he can play him. If he wants to keep him, he can keep him. It's as simple as that.
"Ben has not played a huge amount of rugby this season and they want him fighting fit.
"There are other options at scrum-half because Danny Care and Lee Dickson are both playing well. So it's not as easy as a fit Ben walking straight back into the team. Ben needs to play and that makes sense.
"Stuart runs it sensibly. He is not over-protective and he has other options. Thankfully that helps us on this occasion and gives us a bit of good news for a change.
"Ben will come back to us tomorrow, his hamstring is fine and he will play for us on Saturday.
"We will expect Ben to go back to England after that and be involved against Fiji.
"Anthony Allen will also come back this week but the other six of our lads will stay with England.
"Elsewhere, Julian Salvi is fit now. His hand is good. He had that scanned yesterday and he will be available for selection."
Cockerill confirmed that Martin Castrogiovanni and Steve Mafi will return from international duty with Italy and Tonga respectively tomorrow.
But Samoan prop Logovi'i Mulipola will face four to six weeks out of the game after picking up a knee injury at Kingsholm.
"We will have a good squad when Northampton arrive despite the England boys being away and other lads being on international duty until late in the week, which disrupts training," added Cockerill.
"The four points are important and the local derby element is important too. These games are always pretty interesting shall we say."