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Eight internationals return for Northampton Saints’ trip to Bristol

Eight players involved with their international sides during the Autumn Nations Series return to Northampton Saints’ matchday squad this Friday night, including British & Irish Lions Dan Biggar and Courtney Lawes.

The men in Black, Green and Gold lock horns with Bristol Bears in Round 9 of the Gallagher Premiership (kick-off: 7.45pm), as they revert to league action following two weekends of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Northampton will be looking for their first win at Ashton Gate since 2018, with another nail-biting encounter on the cards in the West Country – five of the last six matches between the sides have been decided by a one-score margin or less.

Lewis Ludlam returns from the England camp to lead out Saints, and the flanker is joined in the back row by Lawes (who skippered the Red Rose twice this month) and No.8 Juarno Augustus.

David Ribbans and Alex Moon line-up in Northampton’s engine room, while props Alex Waller and Paul Hill start either side of James Fish at hooker in the front row for the men in Black, Green and Gold.

Wales fly-half Biggar pulls on the No.10 jersey for Saints and is joined in the half-back berths by Alex Mitchell, after the 24-year-old made his England debut against Tonga.

Fraser Dingwall and Matt Proctor are selected together in Northampton’s midfield for the fifth time this season, while George Furbank and Tommy Freeman also return from the England camp and slot straight into the back three alongside South African wing Courtnall Skosan.

Amongst the replacements there’s room for Fiji internationals Sam Matavesi and Api Ratuniyarawa, while the likes of Tom James, Rory Hutchinson and Josh Gillespie – who caught the eye with two tries in two Premiership Rugby Cup appearances – will also be looking to make an impact off the bench.

BRISTOL BEARS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 9
Friday 26 November 2021
Ashton Gate Stadium
Kick-off: 7.45pm

15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Matt Proctor
12 Fraser Dingwall
11 Courtnall Skosan
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller
2 James Fish
3 Paul Hill
4 David Ribbans
5 Alex Moon
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements:
16 Sam Matavesi
17 Emmanuel Iyogun
18 Conor Carey
19 Api Ratuniyarawa
20 Karl Wilkins
21 Tom James
22 Rory Hutchinson
23 Josh Gillespie

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, Piers Francis, Teimana Harrison, Oisín Heffernan, Dani Long-Martinez, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Kayde Sylvester, Ahsee Tuala and Tom Wood.

Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Philip Watters and Jonathan Healy
No.4: Dan Jones
TMO: Ian Tempest

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