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Collins brings up Saints century in West Country clash

Northampton Saints wing Tom Collins will make his 100th Club appearance as the men in Black, Green and Gold travel to Bristol Bears this Friday evening.

The Northampton-born 26-year-old made his debut back in 2013, but after notching almost 50 caps in the last two years alone, he will bring up his ton in the West Country.

Saints arrive in Bristol with a point to prove after two reverses in their opening Gallagher Premiership clashes of the new season, but also welcome Rory Hutchinson to the starting XV and Taqele Naiyaravoro to the matchday 23 for the first time this campaign.

Scotland centre Hutchinson comes into the side at inside centre with England international Piers Francis shifting to the 13 jersey and Matt Proctor moving outside to the other wing.

Collins and fullback Ahsee Tuala then complete the back three for the visitors, with James Grayson continuing at No.10 and Henry Taylor preferred at scrum-half this weekend.

Club co-captain Alex Waller starts his third straight match at loosehead prop, with hooker Reece Marshall continuing in the front row and tighthead Owen Franks selected to start for the first time this campaign.

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd sticks with Api Ratuniyarawa and David Ribbans in the engine room, while the back row is also unchanged as Nick Isiekwe, co-captain Lewis Ludlam and Tom Wood are named for the second week running – with the latter wearing No.8.

Meanwhile amongst the replacements, props Francois Van Wyk and Ehren Painter are included for the first time this term, as is wing Naiyaravoro – who will hope to make an impactful return to action for Saints off the bench.

BRISTOL BEARS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3
Friday 4 December 2020
Ashton Gate Stadium
Kick-off: 7.45pm

15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Matt Proctor
13 Piers Francis
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Tom Collins
10 James Grayson
9 Henry Taylor

1 Alex Waller (co-capt)
2 Reece Marshall
3 Owen Franks
4 Api Ratuniyarawa
5 David Ribbans
6 Nick Isiekwe
7 Lewis Ludlam (co-capt)
8 Tom Wood

Replacements:
16 James Fish
17 Francois Van Wyk
18 Ehren Painter
19 Alex Coles
20 Shaun Adendorff
21 Alex Mitchell
22 Fraser Dingwall
23 Taqele Naiyaravoro

Not available due to injury:
George Furbank (concussion), Teimana Harrison (calf), Mikey Haywood (knee), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (achilles), Courtney Lawes (ankle), Ollie Sleightholme (ankle), Kayde Sylvester (achilles), and JJ Tonks (shoulder).

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal and Roy Maybank
No.4: Simon Adams
TMO: David Rose

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