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Burrell salutes 'brilliant' North

George North might still be waiting to break his Aviva Premiership try duck with new club Northampton but Luther Burrell has hailed the Wales star's influence on Saints.

Juggernaut wing North will make a fourth successive league start when Northampton host Sale Sharks on Friday night.

And although he has yet to score a try, North's influence was underlined against Gloucester last weekend through memorably setting up a score for his fellow wing Jamie Elliott with some mesmeric approach work.

"George has been brilliant so far," Saints centre Burrell said.

"Coming back in from the (British and Irish) Lions he has brought some fresh ideas and has an old head on young shoulders. It is brilliant for the club that he is here.

"As a back line you want players like him next to you, and he has settled in brilliantly. He is always popping up and working hard on his support play and getting around the park."

Northampton's impressive start to the campaign was dented by an injury-time loss at Kingsholm five days ago, while Sale - despite losing on home soil against Newcastle - head south buoyed by victories over Gloucester and Wasps.

Saints fly-half Stephen Myler will make his 200th appearance for the club, in a team that shows four changes from the Gloucester loss, with centre George Pisi, prop Alex Corbisiero, lock Courtney Lawes and flanker Phil Dowson all handed starts.

Paying tribute to Myler, Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder said: "Stephen has been an outstanding player in my time at the club, and I am delighted for him in reaching a landmark like this.

"In the professional era, when players move from club to club and have massive physical demands every week, hitting 200 appearances becomes even more special.

"I am particularly happy for Stephen that he gets to reach this landmark on home turf. He has been one of our key players over the past few years. He has served the Saints and our supporters well."

Sale also show four changes after last Friday's 26-22 success against Wasps took a hefty toll.

Scrum-half Dwayne Peel (hamstring) and back-five forward James Gaskell (metatarsal) were both injured during the warm-up, while fly-half Nick Macleod (elbow) and number eight Josh Beaumont (knee) suffered injuries during the game.

Danny Cipriani wears the number 10 shirt in an otherwise unchanged back division, with switches up front seeing opportunities for props Eifion Lewis Roberts and Vadim Colbilas, plus number eight Mark Easter.

Sale are bidding for back-to-back Premiership away wins for the first time in five years, but they have not triumphed at Franklin's Gardens since 2006.

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