Saints start Harrison in Champions Cup playoff vs. Connacht

The final Champions Cup place will go to the winner of the Champions Cup playoff final. Sportsfile/Corbis via Getty Images

Northampton Saints and Connacht have released their starting teams for Saturday's Champions Cup playoff semifinal at Franklin's Gardens.

Their most recent encounter came in the 2009 Challenge Cup quarterfinal which saw the Saints record a 42-13 victory over their Irish opponents.

Saints have made two changes to the starting line-up from the Aviva Premiership win over Harlequins with Christian Day and Teimana Harrison both returning to the starting team.

With a home playoff final on offer, the Saints will hope that playing Champions Cup rugby next season will end the speculation surrounding the future of Louis Picamoles, who starts in the back-row.

Pat Lam will look to take Connacht back to the Champions Cup in his final weeks in charge. But they travel to Northampton without centre Bundee Aki who misses the match after his appeal to overturn a misconduct charge was rejected by the Pro 12's Appeal's Committee in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Craig Ronaldson is partnered by Danie Poolman in the centre, while Tiernan O'Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun and former Leinster academy winger Cian Kelleher make up the back three. Jack Carty is joined at halfback by Irish international Kieran Marmion. John Muldoon leads the team

Northampton: Tuala, Foden, Tuitavake, Burrell, North, Mallinder, Groom; Waller, Hartley (c), Brookes, Lawes, Day, Gibson, Harrison, Picamoles.

Replacements: Haywood, Ma'afu, Denman, Ratuniyarawa, Wood, Dickson, Oliver, Hutchinson.

Connacht: O'Halloran, Adeolokun, Poolman, Ronaldson, Kelleher; Carty, Marmion. Buckley, Heffernan, Bealham, Roux, Browne, O'Brien, Heenan, Muldoon (c)

Replacements: Delahunt, Cooney, Carey, Dillane, Dawai, Blade, Cooney, Healy