Northampton Saints have named their side to take on Newcastle Falcons this weekend in the semi-finals of this season’s Premiership Rugby Cup.
Director of rugby Chris Boyd makes six changes to the starting XV that saw off East Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers last time out, with Teimana Harrison set to lead Northampton again at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off: 12.15pm)
The men in Black, Green and Gold were eliminated in the final four of last year’s competition, but after a rest week they host their first home semi-final since 2015 refreshed and determined to avenge a home defeat to Falcons earlier this season.
Harrison leads wearing the No.8 jersey and is joined in the back row by flankers Jamie Gibson and Lewis Ludlam.
David Ribbans returns to the engine room alongside Api Ratuniyarawa, while the only change to the front row sees Ehren Painter come in at tighthead with Francois van Wyk and James Fish selected again by Boyd.
There are three changes within Saints’ back-line but the half-back axis of Cobus Reinach – whose try double was crucial in Northampton’s victory over Leicester Tigers in the last round of the competition – and No.10 James Grayson start together again.
Reinach will notch up his 50th Club appearance in Saturday’s clash, and will be hoping to mark the occasion by adding to an impressive tally of 11 tries in all competitions so far this season,
Taqele Naiyaravoro, Luther Burrell and Ahsee Tuala are all recalled to the starting XV, while George Furbank retains his place at fullback and Rory Hutchinson is shifted to outside centre.
Meanwhile Boyd has opted for a 6-2 split amongst the replacements, with the likes of Alex Waller – in line for his 250th Club appearance if he enters the fray – Tom Wood, Paul Hill, and Heinrich Brüssow all hoping to make an impact off a bench packed full of experience.
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NORTHAMPTON SAINTS v NEWCASTLE FALCONS
Premiership Rugby Cup, semi-final
Saturday 9 February 2019
15 George Furbank
14 Ahsee Tuala
13 Rory Hutchinson
12 Luther Burrell
11 Taqele Naiyaravoro
10 James Grayson
9 Cobus Reinach
1 Francois van Wyk
2 James Fish
3 Ehren Painter
4 David Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Lewis Ludlam
8 Teimana Harrison (capt)
16 Reece Marshall
17 Alex Waller
18 Paul Hill
19 Alex Moon
20 Tom Wood
21 Heinrich Brüssow
22 Alex Mitchell
23 Tom Collins
Not available for selection:
Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), Tom Emery (shoulder), Mikey Haywood (knee), Dylan Hartley (knee), and Piers Francis (shoulder).