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Biggar, Hutchinson and Reinach return to Saints starting XV

Dan Biggar, Rory Hutchinson and Cobus Reinach all return to Northampton Saints’ starting line-up this weekend as the men in Black, Green and Gold prepare to take on Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens.

The hosts are gunning for their first season’s double over the Londoners in the Gallagher Premiership since the 2014-15 season, following a last-gasp 27-25 win at Allianz Park on the opening day of this campaign.

Director of rugby Chris Boyd has made five changes for the Saturday clash (kick-off: 3pm) from the side that went down to Exeter Chiefs last weekend, with all of those coming in the backline.

Fly-half Biggar comes into the No.10 jersey as James Grayson is rested following an HIA last weekend, with Cobus Reinach set to start alongside the Wales international at scrum-half.

Rory Hutchinson returns from Scotland duty to play at inside centre, with Fraser Dingwall – selected in England’s wider Six Nations squad – outside him in Northampton’s midfield.

In the back three Harry Mallinder has recovered from a slight hamstring injury to take his place at fullback, with Taqele Naiyaravoro and Ahsee Tuala lining up on the wings.

Meanwhile Saints’ pack is unchanged from last weekend’s outing, with Francois van Wyk, James Fish and Paul Hill all packing down together again in the front row.

Alex Coles and Lewis Bean are selected in the engine room, while the same blend of youth and experience are utilised in the back row, as veteran Tom Wood and England U20 international JJ Tonks start at flanker either side of club captain Teimana Harrison – who will lead out Northampton in front of a partisan 15,000-strong home crowd.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs SARACENS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 12
Saturday 29 February 2020
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 Harry Mallinder
14 Ahsee Tuala
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Taqele Naiyaravoro
10 Dan Biggar
9 Cobus Reinach

1 Francois van Wyk
2 James Fish
3 Paul Hill
4 Alex Coles
5 Lewis Bean
6 Tom Wood
7 JJ Tonks
8 Teimana Harrison (c)

Replacements:
16 Reece Marshall
17 Ben Franks
18 Owen Franks
19 Ben Glynn
20 Mitch Eadie
21 Henry Taylor
22 Andrew Symons
23 Matt Proctor

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson & Jonathan Healy
TMO: Sean Davey

Not available for selection:
Jamie Gibson (ankle), David Ribbans (ankle), Piers Francis (concussion), Api Ratuniyarawa (suspension), Ollie Sleightholme (hamstring), Alex Moon (knee), Ehren Painter (calf), and Alex Waller (achilles).

International duty:
George Furbank, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam and Alex Mitchell (all England).