Dan Biggar, Rory Hutchinson and Teimana Harrison all return for Northampton Saints this weekend as the men in Black, Green and Gold lock horns with Gloucester at Kingsholm.
Director of Rugby Chris Boyd makes three changes to his starting line-up, with Saints looking to build on a strong away record in this season’s Gallagher Premiership which has seen them win four of eight matches on the road this term – the last three victories coming by an average margin of 23 points.
Northampton are unbeaten in four of their last six league visits to Kingsholm (W3 D1), but are looking to arrest a run of three straight Premiership reverses after narrowly losing out late on to Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs in recent weeks.
Fraser Dingwall will lead out the side in the West Country, starting at inside centre alongside Matt Proctor in the visitors’ midfield.
Scotland international Hutchinson returns at fullback for Saints in the absence of George Furbank – called up for England’s training camp this weekend – with Tom Collins and Courtnall Skosan completing the back three.
Meanwhile Wales skipper Biggar returns from international duty and starts at fly-half, partnering No.9 Alex Mitchell.
The only change to Northampton’s pack sees Harrison return from injury at flanker, as Alex Coles and Juarno Augustus (who were both on the scoresheet last time out for the men in Black, Green and Gold) continue in the back row.
That paves the way for Sam Matavesi to return to his usual position at hooker, with props Emmanuel Iyogun and Ehren Painter starting either side of him, and David Ribbans and Api Ratuniyarawa rounding off the side in the engine room.
Karl Wilkins makes a return from injury to take his place amongst Saints’ replacements, while the likes of Brandon Nansen, Tom James, James Grayson and Piers Francis will all look to make an impact off the bench for the visitors.
GLOUCESTER RUGBY vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 19
Saturday 5 March 2022
15 Rory Hutchinson
14 Courtnall Skosan
13 Matt Proctor
12 Fraser Dingwall (capt)
11 Tom Collins
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Ehren Painter
4 David Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Alex Coles
7 Teimana Harrison
8 Juarno Augustus
16 Mike Haywood
17 Nick Auterac
18 Paul Hill
19 Brandon Nansen
20 Karl Wilkins
21 Tom James
22 James Grayson
23 Piers Francis
Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Emeka Atuanya, Tommy Freeman, Jake Garside, Oisín Heffernan, Tom Lockett, Lewis Ludlam, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Kayde Sylvester, Alex Waller and Tom Wood.
George Furbank (Eng), Courtney Lawes (Eng)
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Michael Hudson and Paul Dix
No.4: Neil Chivers
TMO: Claire Hodnett