Richard Blaze's hopes of winning a first England cap in the autumn internationals faded when the lock was ruled out of Leicester's win over Northampton with a recurrence of a foot injury.
The 24-year-old was named in England’s 32-strong squad for next Saturday’s game against Australia and was due to play yesterday to gain some valuable game time.
But Blaze, who had two pins inserted in his right foot during a close-season operation on a stress fracture of his right foot, pulled out after he failed a late fitness test.
His withdrawal handed an unexpected debut to academy lock Calum Green and left Leicester without 19 players, six of whom were retained by England, but their strength in depth saw them maintain their 13-month unbeaten home record with a 29-15 victory.
Former Ireland fly-half Jeremy Staunton kicked 19 points, including conversions of tries from Lucas Amorosino and Anthony Allen which broke Northampton’s resistance.
Northampton scored two excellent first-half tries, both stemming from menacing runs from Bruce Reihana, but lacked their familiar cutting edge without England pair Ben Foden and Shane Geraghty and managed only a second-half penalty from Stephen Myler.