Lewis Ludlam will captain Northampton Saints for the first time on Saturday, with director of rugby Chris Boyd making six changes to the side to lock horns with Saracens.
The men in Black, Green and Gold travel to Allianz Park with six back-to-back home victories under their belt – including last weekend’s nail-biting 27-26 triumph over Bath – but beating the league leaders on away soil represents a fresh challenge.
Saints have won four of their last five Gallagher Premiership matches and scored over seven tries per game on average in 2019, although are without a win at Saracens since 2015.
Jamie Gibson returns at flanker alongside skipper Ludlam, who continues his run in the side, while there’s a first run out in the No.8 jersey this season for Heinrich Brüssow.
Paul Hill – who signed a new contract with the Club on Wednesday – is the only constant in the front row from last weekend’s victory over Bath, with hooker James Fish and prop Francois van Wyk recalled to the scrum.
After a try and a man-of-the-match performance last time out, Alex Mitchell holds on to the No.9 jersey for the trip to Allianz Park and he will look to pull the strings alongside fly-half James Grayson.
Saints will look to exploit space in the latter stages with the lightning-fast Cobus Reinach and Tom Collins set to be unleashed from the bench, while Boyd can also call on the experience of Tom Wood, Alex Waller, Luther Burrell and Ben Franks from amongst the replacements.
SARACENS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 15
Saturday 2 March 2019
15 George Furbank
14 Ken Pisi
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Ahsee Tuala
10 James Grayson
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Francois Van Wyk
2 James Fish
3 Paul Hill
4 David Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Heinrich Brüssow
Not available for selection:
Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), Mikey Haywood (knee), Dylan Hartley (knee), Teimana Harrison (hamstring), Ehren Painter (calf), Courtney Lawes (calf), and Piers Francis (concussion).