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Moon brings up 50 as Saints ring the changes against Sale

Alex Moon will make his 50th appearance in Black, Green and Gold as Northampton Saints take on Sale Sharks on home soil this weekend.

The 24-year-old lock is among seven changes made by Director of Rugby Chris Boyd for this Saturday's clash (kick-off 2.45pm), with James Grayson, Piers Francis, and Teimana Harrison also returning to the starting XV.

The Gallagher Premiership’s fourth and fifth-placed sides lock horns at Franklin’s Gardens, as the men in Black, Green and Gold look to bounce back from last week’s reverse at Harlequins.

Northampton have rung the changes for the visit of Sale, with five new faces in the pack alone headlined by the return of Harrison at No.8 from a long-term injury lay-off.

Harrison’s inclusion paves the way for Tom Wood to shift to flanker, alongside co-captain Lewis Ludlam, and fill the gap left at blindside with Nick Isiekwe ruled out through concussion.

Prop Alex Waller returns at loosehead and will lead out Saints at the Gardens; he is joined in the front row by hooker Reece Marshall – starting for the first time since December – and tighthead Ehren Painter.

Meanwhile Moon and Alex Coles complete the pack and start together in the hosts’ engine room.

There are just two changes across the backline for Saints, with centre Francis shaking off the dead leg that kept him out of last weekend’s game to join Fraser Dingwall in the midfield.

Grayson is selected at fly-half alongside in-form No.9 Tom James, meaning George Furbank returns to full-back and Tommy Freeman shifts over to the wing, with flyer Ollie Sleightholme keeping his place in the back three.

Amongst the replacements, Northampton boast a blend of youth and experience with the likes of Mike Haywood, Paul Hill, Api Ratuniyarawa, Rory Hutchinson and Harry Mallinder all hoping to make an impact off the bench.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs SALE SHARKS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 13
Saturday 13 March 2021
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 2.45pm

15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Piers Francis
11 Ollie Sleightholme
10 James Grayson
9 Tom James

1 Alex Waller (c)
2 Reece Marshall
3 Ehren Painter
4 Alex Moon
5 Alex Coles
6 Tom Wood
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Nick Auterac
18 Paul Hill
19 Api Ratuniyarawa
20 JJ Tonks
21 Henry Taylor
22 Rory Hutchinson
23 Harry Mallinder

Not available due to injury:
Shaun Adendorff (knee), Owen Franks (foot), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (achilles), Nick Isiekwe (concussion), Courtney Lawes (pectoral), Matt Proctor (calf), and Kayde Sylvester (achilles).

International duty:
Dan Biggar (Wales), Alex Mitchell (England), and David Ribbans (England).

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Mike Hudson and Jonathan Healy
No.4: Andrew Jackson
TMO: David Grashoff

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