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Ludlam returns as Hutchinson makes 150th Saints appearance against Newcastle Falcons

Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns to the starting line-up to lead Northampton Saints out at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens this weekend, with Newcastle Falcons coming to town in the Gallagher Premiership. 

The 28-year-old back row makes his first start in Black, Green and Gold since November, while two more players will bring up milestones on Saturday (27 January, kick-off: 2pm); Rory Hutchinson is set to bring up 150 Saints appearances against Falcons, with wing Gabriel Hamer-Webb also making his debut for Northampton.

The men in Black, Green and Gold sit at the top of the Gallagher Premiership ahead of Round 12, having won nine consecutive matches in all competitions. Falcons, on the other hand, ended their 14-game losing streak last weekend as they secured their first win of the season against Perpignan in the final round of the European Challenge Cup. 

Scotland international Hutchinson hits 150 Northampton matches as he starts at fullback in a new-look Saints backline, with seven players away on International duty with England.

Hamer-Webb will make his make his maiden appearance for the Club, with Ollie Sleightholme on the other wing. Tom Litchfield and Burger Odendaal come into the starting line-up this weekend to start together in Saints’ midfield for the first time, while fly-half Charlie Savala makes his first start in Black, Green and Gold in the No.10 jersey as he partners Tom James in the half-back berths. 

Sam Matavesi provides the only change to Saints’ front row – as he comes in for the suspended Curtis Langdon – to join props Alex Waller and Trevor Davison there. 

Temo Mayanavanua and Chunya Munga form a new-look second row partnership, while captain Ludlam returns to Northampton’s back row alongside Courtney Lawes and No.8 Sam Graham. 

There’s also room on Saints’ bench for the likes of Robbie Smith, Alex Moon, Juarno Augustus and Callum Braley – while Elliot Millar Mills will make his first appearance for Saints since he was added to Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations squad earlier this week from amongst the replacements. 

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs NEWCASTLE FALCONS
Gallagher Premiership, Round 12
Saturday 27 January, 2024
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 2pm

15 Rory Hutchinson – 150th Saints appearance
14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb – Saint #2089
13 Burger Odendaal
12 Tom Litchfield
11 Ollie Sleightholme
10 Charlie Savala
9 Tom James

1 Alex Waller
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Trevor Davison
4 Temo Mayanavanua
5 Chunya Munga
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Sam Graham

Replacements:
16 Robbie Smith
17 Tarek Haffar
18 Elliot Millar Mills
19 Alex Moon
20 Juarno Augustus
21 Angus Scott-Young
22 Callum Braley
23 Joel Matavesi

Not available for selection:
George Hendy, Curtis Langdon (suspended), James Ramm and Tom Seabrook.

International duty:
Alex Coles, Fraser Dingwall, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Alex Mitchell, Tom Pearson and Fin Smith (all England). 

FALCONS SIDE TO FACE SAINTS:
15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Cameron Hutchison, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 Bryan Byrne, 3 Murray McCallum, 4 John Hawkins, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick (c).
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Freddie Lockwood, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Mateo Carreras.

Referee: Sara Cox
Assistant referees: Adam Leal and Jamie Leahy
No. 4: Veryan Boscawen
TMO: Andrew Jackson

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