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Coles leads young Saints side for Premiership Rugby Cup opener

Alex Coles will skipper Northampton Saints for the first time on Saturday as the men in Black, Green and Gold face London Irish in the opening round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has named a young side to take on the Exiles with Senior Academy trio George Hendy, Ethan Grayson and Kayde Sylvester set to make their Club debuts in the starting XV.

Meanwhile Conor Carey, Tom Lockett, and Geordie Irvine could all also come off the bench to earn their first Northampton appearances as they are named amongst the replacements.

Coles starts at flanker for the hosts with Sylvester also named in the back row for his first run-out in Black, Green and Gold, and Karl Wilkins continues in the No.8 jersey after making his own Club debut last weekend.

Alex Moon and Brandon Nansen are selected in the Northampton engine room, while Emmanuel Iyogun, Mike Haywood and Karl Garside complete the pack in the front row.

Tom James and James Grayson start together in the half-back berths for the second week running, while centres Rory Hutchinson and Tom Litchfield form a new partnership in Saints’ midfield.

A back three of Hendy, Ethan Grayson and Josh Gillespie round off the youthful starting XV for Northampton, with an average age of just 23 across the hosts’ matchday squad for the clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

And while Carey, Lockett, and Irvine could all make their Club debuts for Saints from the bench, Reece Marshall and Ollie Newman are both primed to make their first appearances of the 2021/22 season as they are also named amongst the replacements.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LONDON IRISH
Premiership Rugby Cup, Round 1
Saturday 13 November 2021
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3.30pm

15 George Hendy
14 Josh Gillespie
13 Tom Litchfield
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Ethan Grayson
10 James Grayson
9 Tom James

1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Mike Haywood
3 Karl Garside
4 Alex Moon
5 Brandon Nansen
6 Alex Coles (c)
7 Kayde Sylvester
8 Karl Wilkins

Replacements:
16 Reece Marshall
17 Nick Auterac
18 Conor Carey
19 Tom Lockett
20 Geordie Irvine
21 Ollie Newman
22 Connor Tupai
23 Tom Collins

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, Oisín Heffernan, Dani Long-Martinez, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Matt Proctor, Ollie Sleightholme, JJ Tonks, Ahsee Tuala and Tom Wood.

International duty:
Dan Biggar, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Courtney Lawes, Frank Lomani, Lewis Ludlam, Sam Matavesi, Alex Mitchell, and Api Ratuniyarawa.

Referee: Greg Macdonald
Assistant referees: Jonathan Cook and Gareth Holsgrove
No.4: Darryl Chapman

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Northampton Saints
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