Team News Northampton v Gloucester: Lions Biggar and Rees-Zammit start

Team News Northampton v Gloucester: Lions Biggar and Rees-Zammit start

Northampton Saints’ Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has made just three changes to his starting XV to face Gloucester Rugby at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Saints enter this weekend’s Round 18 Gallagher Premiership clash off the back of three consecutive wins in the league, and will be hoping to keep up the pressure on the top four by recording a season’s double over the Cherry & Whites.

Dan Biggar – named in the British & Irish Lions squad this week – shakes off a knock sustained in the East Midlands Derby victory over Leicester Tigers to start at fly-half, but Tom James comes in at scrum-half to replace the injured Alex Mitchell. However, Biggar isn't joined by his fellow clubmate who also made the Lions squad, Courtney Lawes, with England international still nursing a pectoral injury.

The rest of Saints’ back-line is unchanged as Piers Francis and Rory Hutchinson take up their places in the Northampton midfield, while Tommy Freeman, Matt Proctor and fullback George Furbank continue in the back three.

Loosehead prop Alex Waller will lead out the side in an unchanged front row, with hooker Sam Matavesi and tighthead Paul Hill starting the showdown at the Gardens.

Api Ratuniyarawa returns from a shoulder injury to start at lock for the first time since March, joining Dave Ribbans in the hosts’ engine room, and No.8 Teimana Harrison returns to the line-up in an otherwise unchanged back row with flankers Tom Wood and Lewis Ludlam.

For Gloucester, George Skivington has opted not to play Lion Chris Harris with Georgian international Giorgi Kveseladze is set to make his first start in Cherry and White in the centre with Bryan O’Connor set to make his debut from the bench.

Matias Alemanno returns to the pack after the birth of his child and will link up with Ed Slater in the second row, behind the unchanged front row of Val Rapava-Ruskin, Jack Singleton and Fraser Balmain from last time out against Newcastle. 

Jordy Reid starts at blindside flanker with Ruan Ackermann at No.8 and captain Lewis Ludlow on the openside.

In the backs, Mark Atkinson will link up with Kveseladze in the midfield with, recently announced Lion, Louis Rees-Zammit, Santiago Carreras and Kyle Moyle named as the back three. Charlie Chapman starts and scrum-half alongside Billy Twelvetrees who will wear the fly-half shirt.

Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 18
Saturday 8 May 2021
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 2pm

15 George Furbank
14 Matt Proctor
13 Rory Hutchinson
12 Piers Francis
11 Tommy Freeman
10 Dan Biggar
9 Tom James

1 Alex Waller (co-capt)
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 Dave Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Tom Wood
7 Lewis Ludlam (co-capt)
8 Teimana Harrison

16 James Fish
17 Nick Auterac
18 Ehren Painter
19 Alex Moon
20 Shaun Adendorff
21 Henry Taylor
22 Fraser Dingwall
23 Taqele Naiyaravoro

Not available due to injury:
Owen Franks (foot), Mikey Haywood (hand), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (achilles), Nick Isiekwe (pectoral), Courtney Lawes (pectoral), Alex Mitchell (ankle), Ryan Olowofela (ankle), Ollie Sleightholme (back) and Kayde Sylvester (Achilles).

Gloucester Rugby

15. Kyle Moyle

14. Louis Rees-Zammit *

13. Giorgi Kveseladze

12. Mark Atkinson

11. Santiago Carreras

10. Billy Twelvetrees

9. Charlie Chapman *

1. Val Rapava-Ruskin

2. Jack Singleton

3. Fraser Balmain

4. Ed Slater

5. Matias Alemanno

6. Jordy Reid

7. Lewis Ludlow (c) *

8. Ruan Ackermann

16. Santiago Socino

17. Jamal Ford-Robinson

18. Bryan O’Connor

19. Ben Morgan

20. Jack Clement *

21. Willi Heinz

22. George Barton *

23. Tom Seabrook *

*Denotes Academy player or graduate from the Gloucester Rugby Academy


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