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Gibson and Haywood return for Saints’ 500th Premiership clash

Director of rugby Chris Boyd has named his side for Northampton Saints’ first home match of the new Gallagher Premiership season, with the Club featuring in its 500th top-flight tie against Worcester Warriors.

Saints opened their Premiership campaign with an impressive victory over reigning champions Saracens, and will be hoping to build on that performance as they take to Franklin’s Gardens turf for only the third time this season tomorrow (kick-off 2pm).

One of only two changes to the starting line-up that picked up the win at Allianz Park, Teimana Harrison returns to the side - after missing out last week through injury - to pack down at No. 8. Tom Wood steps into flanker and 19-year-old JJ Tonks retains his place in the XV on the other flank to complete the back row.

With David Ribbans away on compassionate leave, Alex Coles switches from flanker to lock as he starts the game in the engine room alongside Alex Moon. 

Alex Waller co-captains the side from the front row with James Fish and Ehren Painter – the only other change from last weekend - packing down alongside him.

Rory Hutchinson pairs up with 20-year-old Fraser Dingwall in the centres once again, while half-backs Henry Taylor and James Grayson – who scored the winning points for Saints last weekend – link up for the fifth week running.

Boyd has named an unchanged backline from last weekend, with Tom Collins, Taqele Naiyaravoro and George Furbank all retaining their places in the back three. 

Rory Hutchinson pairs up with 20-year-old Fraser Dingwall in the centres once again, while half-backs Henry Taylor and James Grayson – who scored the winning points for Saints last weekend – link up for the fifth week running.

And there are some welcome sights on Saints’ bench as club stalwarts Jamie Gibson and Mikey Haywood – who has spent 11 months on the sideline since making his 200th Saints appearance – are set to make their first appearances of the season from the bench.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs WORCESTER WARRIORS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round Two
Saturday 26 October, 2019
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 2pm

15 George Furbank
14 Tom Collins
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Taqele Naiyaravoro
10 James Grayson
9 Henry Taylor

1 Alex Waller (co-capt)
2 James Fish
3 Ehren Painter
4 Alex Coles
5 Alex Moon
6 Tom Wood
7 JJ Tonks
8 Teimana Harrison (co-capt)

Replacements:
16 Mikey Haywood
17 Ben Franks
18 Karl Garside
19 Lewis Bean
20 Jamie Gibson
21 Connor Tupai
22 Andy Symons
23 Ollie Sleightholme

Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant referees: Tom Foley and Simon McConnell
TMO: Nigel Carrick

Not available for selection:
Francois van Wyk (elbow) Harry Mallinder (knee), Dylan Hartley (knee), Paul Hill (foot), Alex Mitchell (knee) and Reece Marshall (hamstring).

International duty:
Dan Biggar (Wal), Piers Francis (Eng), Courtney Lawes (Eng), Lewis Ludlam (Eng) and Cobus Reinach (SA).

Next Home Match

Northampton Saints
00
Days
03
Hours
04
Mins
Harlequins
Saturday 28 November - 2:00pm