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Five changes for Saints ahead of Sale Sharks clash

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has made five changes to Northampton Saints’ starting line-up ahead of this weekend’s home Gallagher Premiership clash against Sale Sharks.

The men in Black, Green and Gold welcome Alex Sanderson’s side to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm) with the sides separated by just a point in a congested league table.

Fraser Dingwall will lead out Saints in the Premiership for the first time on home soil, with Boyd making just one change to Northampton’s backline from last week’s Derby defeat.

Centre Matt Proctor joins Dingwall and starts in the hosts’ midfield for the first time since December, with Rory Hutchinson switching into the back three and lining up at fullback.

Northampton’s wings are unchanged with Ollie Sleightholme and Courtnall Skosan – who, with nine tries so far this season, is currently tied as the league’s leading try-scorer – both continuing, while George Furbank and Alex Mitchell start together again in the half-back berths for Saints.

But Boyd rings the changes in the pack as Emmanuel Iyogun starts in the Premiership for the first time this season, and tighthead Ehren Painter also comes into the front row to join Sam Matavesi – who is selected at hooker for the seventh straight match.

Brandon Nansen gets the nod in the engine room for Saints alongside David Ribbans, while Karl Wilkins comes in at flanker to replace the injured Tom Wood, with Teimana Harrison and Juarno Augustus keeping their places in the back row.

Meanwhile, amongst the replacements, there is a return from injury for Piers Francis and scrum-half Frank Lomani is named in the matchday 23 for the first time in 2022.

It will be an historic day on the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens turf, as Saints’ elite women’s team – Loughborough Lightning – play in Northampton for the first time since an innovative new partnership between the Club and Loughborough University was announced last year. Lightning kick-off against Exeter Chiefs at 5.15pm, approximately 30 minutes after full-time in the clash between Saints and Sale. Matchday tickets cover both fixtures and are AVAILABLE HERE from just £20 adult / £8 child.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs SALE SHARKS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 17
Saturday 19 February 2022
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 Rory Hutchinson
14 Ollie Sleightholme
13 Matt Proctor
12 Fraser Dingwall (c)
11 Courtnall Skosan
10 George Furbank
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Ehren Painter
4 David Ribbans
5 Brandon Nansen
6 Karl Wilkins
7 Teimana Harrison
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Alex Waller
18 Paul Hill
19 Api Ratuniyarawa
20 Alex Coles
21 Frank Lomani
22 James Grayson
23 Piers Francis

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Emeka Atuanya, Dan Biggar, Tommy Freeman, Jake Garside, Oisín Heffernan, Tom James, Lewis Ludlam, Alex Moon, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Kayde Sylvester, and Tom Wood.

International duty:
Courtney Lawes (Eng)

Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley and George Selwood
No.4: Simon Park
TMO: Anthony Woodthorpe

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