Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has made six changes to his Northampton Saints side for this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership clash against Newcastle Falcons, with Ollie Sleightholme bringing up his 50th Club appearance and Rory Hutchinson, David Ribbans and James Grayson all returning to the starting line-up.
The men in Black, Green and Gold have won seven of their last eight matches at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens in all competitions, and will be looking to add to that tally on Saturday afternoon (kick-off: 3pm, broadcast on PRTV Live).
Saints enter the clash sitting sixth in the standings, but will be wary of a dangerous Newcastle side who have upset Northampton on six of the last 12 meetings between the clubs in all competitions.
Fraser Dingwall will captain the side and is joined in the midfield by Scotland international Hutchinson, while Tom Collins also comes into the starting XV on the wing with half-centurion Sleightholme and fullback George Furbank keeping their places in the back three from last weekend’s win over Wasps.
James Grayson starts at fly-half for Northampton, replacing the injured Dan Biggar, but Alex Mitchell continues in the No.9 jersey for the sixth straight league match.
Meanwhile there are also three changes in Saints’ pack as No.8 Juarno Augustus returns to the back row, with Aaron Hinkley outside him at flanker and Ribbans coming into the engine room.
Alex Coles – scorer of two tries last time out – continues on the openside flank and Alex Moon keeps his place in the second row as well, with the front row also unchanged as props Alex Waller and Paul Hill pack down either side of Sam Matavesi.
There’s plenty of experience packed onto the hosts’ bench as internationals Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Lewis Ludlam, Matt Proctor and Callum Braley will look to make an impact later in the contest, while England Under-20s fullback George Hendy is set for just his second Gallagher Premiership appearance if he enters the action.
NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs NEWCASTLE FALCONS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 6
Saturday 15 October 2022
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
15 George Furbank
14 Tom Collins
13 Fraser Dingwall (c)
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Ollie Sleightholme – 50th Saints appearance
10 James Grayson
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Alex Waller
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 David Ribbans
5 Alex Moon
6 Alex Coles
7 Aaron Hinkley
8 Juarno Augustus
16 Robbie Smith
17 Ethan Waller
18 Alfie Petch
19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
20 Lewis Ludlam
21 Callum Braley
22 Matt Proctor
23 George Hendy
Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Dan Biggar, Callum Burns, Tommy Freeman, Joseph Gaffan, Aston Gradwick-Light, Mike Haywood, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Courtney Lawes, Courtnall Skosan, and Karl Wilkins.
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe and Jamie Leahy
No.4: Neil Chivers
TMO: Andrew Jackson