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Four changes for Saints ahead of home clash with Saracens

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has made four changes to his Northampton Saints line-up ahead of this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership clash against Saracens.

The men in Black, Green and Gold welcome the North London side to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens looking to preserve a superb recent record around the turn of the year, having won their first clash in January in nine of the last ten seasons.

Saints have been beaten just once on home soil in the Premiership this term, although – barring the Premiership Rugby Cup final in 2019 – Saracens have not lost in Northampton in over six years.

Piers Francis starts only his second game of the season for Saints as Boyd names a fresh midfield partnership, with Rory Hutchinson selected at outside centre.

Those are the only two changes to Northampton’s back line however from the line-up that began Monday’s defeat at Harlequins, with Dan Biggar and Alex Mitchell linking up in the half-back berths and Courtnall Skosan, Ollie Sleightholme and fullback George Furbank completing the back three.

Meanwhile in the pack, tighthead prop Paul Hill comes into the front row to start alongside hooker Sam Matavesi and loosehead Alex Waller.

Alex Coles is the final change to Northampton’s starting XV as the 22-year-old lock is selected in the engine room alongside Api Ratuniyarawa, meaning Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam and Juarno Augustus continue in the back row.

There is plenty of experience amongst Saints’ replacements for the clash, with David Ribbans, Tom Wood, Fraser Dingwall and Ahsee Tuala ready to make an impact from the bench, while props Emmanuel Iyogun and Conor Carey also come back into the matchday 23.

Only a few single seats remain for the clash and are available to purchase for a special offer of £37. This will be the first match at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens with ‘Plan B’ regulations in effect; supporters must read all the guidance carefully and are encouraged to arrive early for the match as it might take longer than usual to get into the ground with additional Covid-19 checks in place.

Season Ticket Holders are strongly encouraged to upload their NHS COVID Pass ahead of time, via the individual link which has already been emailed to you, as this will reduce queues at the turnstiles and speed up everyone’s entry into the ground.

Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 12
Sunday 2 January 2021
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank
14 Ollie Sleightholme
13 Rory Hutchinson
12 Piers Francis
11 Courtnall Skosan
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 Alex Coles
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

16 James Fish
17 Emmanuel Iyogun
18 Conor Carey
19 David Ribbans
20 Tom Wood
21 Tom James
22 Fraser Dingwall
23 Ahsee Tuala

Not considered for selection:
Matty Arden, Nick Auterac, Callum Burns, Tommy Freeman, Teimana Harrison, Mike Haywood, Oisín Heffernan, Reece Marshall, Alex Moon, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Matt Proctor, and Kayde Sylvester.

Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant referees: Jonathan Healy and George Selwood
No.4: Joe James
TMO: Craig Maxwell-Keys

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