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Grayson and Mitchell make 50th appearances as Saints host Harlequins

James Grayson and Alex Mitchell will both bring up their 50th appearances for Northampton Saints this weekend, as Chris Boyd names his matchday 23 to take on Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership.

Fly-half Grayson, 22, has already notched up over 300 points in his fledgling career in Black, Green and Gold, while 23-year-old half-back partner Mitchell has an impressive 15 tries to his name for Northampton – and both will earn a half-century of Club caps on Saturday.

Chris Boyd’s side went down 30-17 the last time the sides met in August, but that ended a four-game winning run over the south-west Londoners and Franklin’s Gardens has not been a happy hunting ground for Quins in recent years, with Saints unbeaten on home soil against the Quarters since December 2012.

The hosts welcome Lewis Ludlam back into the 23 for the first time this season from international duty, with the flanker starting in the back row and skippering Northampton alongside loosehead prop Alex Waller in his new role as Club co-captain.

Reece Marshall makes his first Saints start since May 2019 at hooker, with Paul Hill extending his run at tighthead to complete the front row.

David Ribbans, who returned from England camp last week to come off the bench for Northampton, is selected to start against Quins alongside Fiji international Api Ratuniyarawa in the engine room – meaning Nick Isiekwe shifts into the back row alongside Ludlam and Tom Wood, who slots in at No.8 with Teimana Harrison out injured.

Mitchell and Grayson start together in the half-back berths for Saints for only the seventh time, with Piers Francis and Matt Proctor selected outside them in the centres for the second week running.

Tom Collins kicked off the new season with a try last time out against Sale, and the 26-year-old flyer continues in the back three; Ahsee Tuala also continues on the opposite wing, but Harry Mallinder comes into the Northampton XV at fullback for his first start since March after impressing on his return from injury last week.

Meanwhile amongst the replacements for Saints is Scotland international Rory Hutchinson, (who returns from an ankle injury) and the likes of Shaun Adendorff, Henry Taylor and Fraser Dingwall, who will all look to make an impact off the bench at Franklin’s Gardens.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs HARLEQUINS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 2
Saturday 28 November 2020
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 2pm

15 Harry Mallinder
14 Ahsee Tuala
13 Matt Proctor
12 Piers Francis
11 Tom Collins
10 James Grayson
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller (co-capt)
2 Reece Marshall
3 Paul Hill
4 Api Ratuniyarawa
5 David Ribbans
6 Nick Isiekwe
7 Lewis Ludlam (co-capt)
8 Tom Wood

Replacements:
16 James Fish
17 Nick Auterac
18 Owen Franks
19 Alex Coles
20 Shaun Adendorff
21 Henry Taylor
22 Fraser Dingwall
23 Rory Hutchinson

Not available due to injury:
George Furbank (concussion), Teimana Harrison (calf), Mikey Haywood (knee), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (achilles), Courtney Lawes (ankle), Ollie Sleightholme (ankle), Kayde Sylvester (achilles), and JJ Tonks (shoulder).

Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace & Simon McConnell
No.4: Darryl Chapman
TMO: Rowan Kitt

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