Heinrich Brüssow is poised to make his first appearance for Northampton Saints off the bench on Friday evening, with the hosts making five changes to the starting line-up from last week’s triumph over Sale Sharks.
The hosts – who earlier this week announced Hurricanes boss Chris Boyd as their new Director of Rugby from next season – can advance to the knockout stages of the competition with a victory over Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens, kick-off 7.45pm, having reached the semi-finals in three of the past five seasons.
Piers Francis returns to the No.10 jersey and will partner up with scrum-half Cobus Reinach, who starts his third straight game in the Black, Green and Gold.
British & Irish Lion George North will make his injury comeback, while Ken Pisi – who has three tries in Saints’ last four matches – is on the other wing and Ahsee Tuala continues at fullback.
Nafi Tuitavake, scorer of last week’s match-winning try against Sale Sharks, and Tom Stephenson are retained in Northampton’s midfield, but one change is made in the front row with Mikey Haywood coming in to join Francois Van Wyk and Kieran Brookes.
Jamie Gibson and Teimana Harrison – who were rested last weekend – return to the back row, but the Franklin’s Gardens faithful could capture a glimpse of Brüssow off the bench as he pulls on the Saints jersey for the very first time.
The South Africa international joined up with the squad a fortnight ago and will hope to make an impact in the closing stages, as will Ben Foden, Mitch Eadie and Nic Groom who return to the replacements list after being rested last week.
“This game presents another tough test for us in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, a competition we are very keen to advance in,” said Saints technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney.
“This is the first chance of the season to pick up some silverware, and we want to win everything that’s on offer to us as a Club.
“Harlequins will be a tough test, but we are confident we can continue to build the momentum we have created in recent weeks with another victory heading back into the Aviva Premiership.”
Tickets are now available for Saints' Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Harlequins from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.
SAINTS V HARLEQUINS TEAM NEWS
Anglo-Welsh Cup, Round 4
Friday 2nd February, 2018
15 Ahsee Tuala
1 Francois Van Wyk
15 Aaron Morris
1 Mark Lambert