Alex Coles will captain Northampton Saints on home soil this Saturday as the men in Black, Green and Gold lock horns with Bedford Blues in their first preseason clash.
Supporters will get their first look at a number of new signings in the encounter at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, with Australian imports Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, and James Ramm all running out from the outset for Northampton.
Another new Saint in Sam Graham will start in the No.8 jersey for the hosts and Ethan Waller marks his return to the Club at loosehead, meanwhile Robbie Smith, Alfie Petch and Callum Braley are all also set for their first appearances in Northampton colours from amongst the replacements.
“Preseason has been really good so far,” said Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson. “Training at Northampton School for Boys has been a breath of fresh air as the facilities are brilliant, so the boys have enjoyed it.
“It’s been really interesting to get my feet under the desk properly as Director of Rugby, and all of our new signings to a man (and I include the Senior Academy signings too) have been outstanding in terms of their attitude and what they are producing on the pitch.
“The effort they all made in the Blakiston Challenge too was very impressive, so they’ve shown tons of character and immersed themselves in Northampton life.
“Getting those new players in a Saints shirt for the first time on Saturday will be very special.”Phil Dowson, Director of Rugby
“We know Bedford will be a handful; they’ve already had a preseason game and put 60 points on Rotherham, and some of our players will be representing the Blues too – Ed Prowse, Jake Garside and Ethan Grayson – who will all want to make a statement ahead of the start of the season.
“It’s always really useful to get the first hit-out of the season. We’ve practiced really hard over the last month-and-a-half so I’m looking forward to seeing how much of our game we can get on the pitch under pressure. It will be a good marker of where we’re at.”
The match marks the first time Bedford have visited Northampton since the two sides began their strategic partnership back in June 2020, with Saints winning an entertaining reverse fixture 40-21 in 2021.
To find out more about everything happening around the ground on Saturday, including opening times, please read our Guide to the Gardens HERE.
Entry to this match is FREE for 2022/23 Season Ticket Holders, residents of The Parish, and 2022/23 Saints Members – with other tickets still available and priced at £10 for adults and £5 for juniors*
For those supporters who are unable to attend the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens clash in person, Saints will be streaming the match live with commentary from BBC Radio Northampton pundits Graham McKechnie and Lennie Newman. To watch live, please visit northamptonsaints.co.uk/saintstv from 2pm on matchday.
NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs BEDFORD BLUES
Saturday 27 August 2022
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
15 James Ramm
14 Courtnall Skosan
13 Matt Proctor
12 Tom Litchfield
11 Tom Collins
10 Matty Arden
9 Tom James
1 Ethan Waller
2 Mikey Haywood
3 Paul Hill
4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5 Alex Coles (c)
6 Angus Scott-Young
7 Geordie Irvine
8 Sam Graham