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Harrison returns as Saints make five changes for trip to Newcastle

Northampton Saints No.8 Teimana Harrison makes his return from injury this weekend as the men in Black, Green and Gold journey north to face Newcastle Falcons in the Gallagher Premiership.

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd makes five changes in total to the side that went down to Saracens on Sunday, with Tom Wood, David Ribbans, Fraser Dingwall and Tom Collins all returning to the starting XV.

Saints will be looking to notch up their third away victory of the league season with a win at Kingston Park (after beating Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears on the road so far), but will need to end a frustrating run against the Falcons, who have won seven of the last eight meetings between the sides in the Premiership.

Lewis Ludlam – who leads the league currently in breakdown steals – captains Northampton from the back row, with Wood coming into the side at flanker and Harrison making his first appearance since October in the No.8 jersey.

Lock Ribbans is recalled to the engine room to join Api Ratuniyarawa, while Saints’ front row of loosehead Alex Waller, tighthead Paul Hill and hooker Sam Matavesi remains unchanged from last weekend.

Fly-half Dan Biggar and scrum-half Alex Mitchell continue for Northampton, but there are changes elsewhere in the back line as Collins is selected on the wing, with Courtnall Skosan and fullback George Furbank completing the back three.

Dingwall gets the nod at outside centre while Rory Hutchinson starts in the No.12 jersey to round off the starting XV.

On the bench for Northampton, Ehren Painter is in line to make his 50th Premiership appearance if he enters the action, with the likes of Alex Coles, Karl Wilkins and Tommy Freeman also named amongst Saints’ replacements.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 13
Saturday 8 January 2021
Kingston Park
Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank
14 Courtnall Skosan
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Tom Collins
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 David Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Tom Wood
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:
16 James Fish
17 Emmanuel Iyogun
18 Ehren Painter
19 Alex Coles
20 Karl Wilkins
21 Tom James
22 Tom Litchfield
23 Tommy Freeman

Not considered for selection:
Juarno Augustus, Nick Auterac, Callum Burns, Piers Francis, Mike Haywood, Oisín Heffernan, Courtney Lawes, Alex Moon, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Matt Proctor, and Kayde Sylvester.

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Hamish Smales and Wayne Falla
No.4: Gregg Dawson
TMO: Stuart Terheege

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