Fraser Dingwall will lead out Northampton Saints against Gloucester Rugby, with Director of Rugby Phil Dowson making seven changes to his line-up for this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership clash.
James Grayson, Callum Braley, Rory Hutchinson, Tom Collins, Ehren Painter, Alex Coles and Sam Graham all come in to start for the men in Black, Green and Gold, as the Cherry and Whites head to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens for a 2.45pm kick-off on Saturday (broadcast live via PRTV Live).
Gloucester came out on top of the reverse fixture back in December at Kingsholm, but with Saints propelling themselves up into third after last weekend’s dramatic 38-34 victory over Sale Sharks, just a single point separates the two sides in the league table and the stage is set for another showstopper at the Gardens.
Dingwall continues in Northampton’s midfield and skippers the side after an all-action display last weekend, but he is joined in the centres this week by Hutchinson.
James Ramm and Tommy Freeman both continue in the back three, but the former moves into the fullback jersey on Saturday to replace the injured George Furbank – with Collins coming into this weekend’s starting line up to complete the back three.
Saints make two changes in the half-back berths however, with former Italy international Braley starting at scrum-half and Grayson coming into the No.10 jersey for his first Premiership start since October.
Up front, Painter gets the nod at tighthead prop as Paul Hill is sidelined through injury, while loosehead Alex Waller and hooker Robbie Smith continue in the front row.
David Ribbans and Alex Moon – who has made the most tackles (168) of any player in the Premiership this season – combine in the engine room for the second week running, but there are two further changes to the back row with England international Coles returning to the starting line-up at flanker to join Angus Scott-Young and incoming No.8 Graham.
Amongst the replacements for Saints, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto returns to the fold from suspension, while the likes of Fin Smith, Courtnall Skosan and Aaron Hinkley will hope to make an impact off the bench – as will scrum-half Jake Garside, who will make his Premiership debut should he enter the action.
NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs GLOUCESTER RUGBY
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 18
Saturday 25 February 2023
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
15 James Ramm
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Fraser Dingwall (c)
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Tom Collins
10 James Grayson
9 Callum Braley
1 Alex Waller
2 Robbie Smith
3 Ehren Painter
4 David Ribbans
5 Alex Moon
6 Alex Coles
7 Angus Scott-Young
8 Sam Graham
16 Tom Cruse
17 Ethan Waller
18 Alfie Petch
19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
20 Aaron Hinkley
21 Jake Garside – Gallagher Premiership Debut
22 Fin Smith
23 Courtnall Skosan
Not considered for selection:
Juarno Augustus, Callum Burns, George Furbank, Mike Haywood, Emmanuel Iyogun, Tom James, Joel Matavesi, Matt Proctor and Ollie Sleightholme.
Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, and Alex Mitchell (all England).
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant referees: Joe James and Peter Allan
No.4: Alex Thomas
TMO: Rowan Kitt