With the fifth round of the Aviva Premiership looming as Friday night’s clash with Exeter Chiefs quickly approaches, Saints and Chiefs have many interesting head to head clashes across the park to keep an eye on during the game.
Chiefs have a lot of high-profile faces to look out for including four-times England capped Luke Cowan-Dickie. The hooker has been at his current club since 2010, making his Chiefs senior debut against Cavalieri Prato in the Amlin Challenge Cup in 2011. Since then Cowan-Dickie has gone on to make 63 appearances for the club and put 50 points to his name.
Likely to stand opposite to Mikey Haywood, the 23-year-old has started all four of Exeter’s Premiership games so far this season, including for the Chiefs first win of the season last weekend as they travelled to Ashton Gate to face top-flight newbies Bristol.
Coming up against a player who is already establishing himself as of Saints hero status, 54-time capped Frenchman Louis Picamoles, will surely be the Chiefs’ resident powerhouse try-scorer, Thomas Waldrom.
The 33-year-old was the European Champions Cup’s highest try scorer, alongside Vereniki Goneva, and has scored an incredible 190 points for Exeter since joining them in 2014.
The interesting head-to-heads do not end with the forwards. At half-back, Stephen Myler and Gareth Steenson are likely to clash horns on Friday night.
The two experienced fly-halves have controlled the game from their position for a total of 18 years between them putting nearly 4,500 points to their two names over that time. Myler and Steenson coming face to face is always a fascinating match up and one both players will be relishing this Friday.
With the centres for both sides come younger faces. At 20 and 23 respectively, Harry Mallinder and Henry Slade will likely come up against one another in the midfield on Friday night. The younger Mallinder has made just 21 appearances in a Saints shirt to his opposite’s 80 turn outs for the Chiefs. And with his two England caps under his belt, it will be interesting to see how the more experienced Slade lines up against the Saints youngster.
Make sure you're at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night to catch all the action of the fifth round of the Aviva Premiership and see these head-to-head battles take place.
Tickets for the Saints' home Aviva Premiership clash with Exeter are now on general sale to all supporters. Make sure your voice counts by booking your place at Franklin's Gardens! Head to www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/buytickets and use [email protected] to beat the match day queues and save the admin fees.