Reece Marshall and Tom Wood will both make their long-anticipated returns from injury tonight as Northampton Wanderers take on London Irish in a friendly match at Franklin’s Gardens.
With Wasps cancelling the Premiership Rugby Shield fixture due to take place this evening, the Wandies will instead take on the Exiles (kick-off 7.30pm) after the Championship side stepped in at the last minute.
Entry is free for season ticket holders, with tickets also available on the gate at £5 for adults and £2 for under-16s, as the side led by Mark Hopley and Simon Sinclair look to make it three from three this term after opening wins over Leicester Tigers and Sale Jets in recent weeks.
And with Marshall and Wood making their first appearances of the season, Wandies will be hoping to keep their momentum high as they prepare for round four of the Premiership Rugby Shield next Monday where they travel to Newcastle Falcons.
Tom Emery and Matt Worley line up on the wings with George Furbank standing at fullback to complete the back three.
James Grayson starts again at fly-half with No.9 Connor Tupai joining him in the half-backs, while Fraser Strachan links up with Ollie Sleightholme in the midfield – rounding off a back line made up entirely of Saints Academy starlets.
After featuring off the bench for Saints on Saturday at the Rec, prop Francois van Wyk starts at tighthead, linking up with the fit-again Marshall and Will Davis in the front row.
Alex Moon and Api Ratuniyarawa join forces in the engine room once more, while Paddy Ryan and No.8 Mitch Eadie – plus the returning Wood – make up the back row.
“We were very disappointed that our Shield fixture against Wasps was cancelled this evening, but delighted to have arranged this friendly instead to give our players the opportunity for some game time,” said Saints Academy manager Sinclair.
“We must say thanks again to London Irish for stepping in at the last minute. The Exiles will provide a stern test as they're always a well-organised outfit, but we're really excited about having 13 current Saints Academy players in our squad.
“They'll be jumping at the chance to show a good Franklin's Gardens crowd what they are made of.”
Gates to Franklin’s Gardens open at 6.30pm with kick-off scheduled for 7.30pm. Car parks A, B and C situated off Ross Road will be open and free of charge. The game is free to Season Ticket Holders; £5 for adults and £2 for under-16s.
NORTHAMPTON WANDERERS v LONDON IRISH
Monday 24 September
15 George Furbank
14 Matt Worley
13 Ollie Sleightholme
12 Fraser Strachan
11 Tom Emery
10 James Grayson
9 Connor Tupai
1 Will Davis
2 Reece Marshall
3 Francois van Wyk
4 Alex Moon
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Tom Wood
7 Paddy Ryan
8 Mitch Eadie
16 Samson Ma’asi
17 Jamal Ford-Robinson
18 Karl Garside
19 Devante Onojaife
20 Joe Wallace
21 Fin Creighton*
22 Morgan Dayes
23 Sam Evans*