Northampton Saints have made five changes to their starting line-up to take on Bath Rugby in the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh Cup, with Teimana Harrison set to make his 100th appearance in Black, Green and Gold.
Travelling to the Rec on Friday evening, Saints will be looking to reach the final of the tournament for the fourth time in eight seasons.
The visitors have already locked horns with Todd Blackadder’s Bath twice this season, with one home victory apiece for either side in the Aviva Premiership.
Saints will start with a new-look half-back partnership at the Rec, with Cobus Reinach brought back into the side at scrum-half and Stephen Myler – who impressed off the bench last weekend – outside him.
That leaves Piers Francis to shift to inside centre in place of the injured Luther Burrell, with the rest of Northampton’s back-line unchanged from last week.
Ben Foden skippers Saints on the wing, with Nafi Tuitavake and Ahsee Tuala once again making up the rest of the back three.
There is one change to Saints’ front row with Reece Marshall making his fourth start of the season at hooker as Mike Haywood is rested, but props Campese Ma’afu and Kieran Brookes are unchanged.
David Ribbans has recovered from a shoulder knock to return alongside Api Ratuniyarawa in the second row, while Jamie Gibson starts at flanker in place of the injured Tom Wood alongside centurion Harrison.
Charlie Clare, Ben Nutley, and Tom Stephenson also all come into the 23 to take their place amongst the replacements and Nic Groom is poised to make his 50th Northampton appearance off the bench, with Saints hoping to book their spot in next weekend’s final at Kingsholm.
“We want to perform in every game, but winning silverware this season is a huge aim for us now and this week is a big opportunity,” said interim head coach Alan Dickens.
“We’re under no illusions that this will be a tough game this Friday – it’s a semi-final away from home – but we’ve got to go there and put in a performance.”
BATH RUGBY v SAINTS TEAM NEWS
Anglo-Welsh Cup Semi-Final
Friday 9th March, 2018
15 Tom Homer
1 Beno Obano
15 Ahsee Tuala
1 Campese Ma’afu
Alex Waller, James Craig, Tom Wood, Christian Day, Harry Mallinder and Luther Burrell are all unavailable for selection.