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Saints make 12 changes for final Challenge Cup pool match

Director of rugby Chris Boyd has made 12 changes to his Northampton Saints line-up for Friday evening’s European Challenge Cup clash against Timisoara Saracens (kick-off: 8pm).

The men in Black, Green and Gold are looking to qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition courtesy of a victory at Franklin’s Gardens against the Romanian champions, following last weekend’s narrow defeat in Clermont.

Saints have never before faced Saracens, with their fixture in Timisoara cancelled before Christmas due to heavy overnight snowfall.

Centre Luther Burrell, second-row David Ribbans and scrum-half Alex Mitchell are the only survivors from the starting XV in Clermont, with prop Alex Waller returning to the line-up to lead out Northampton as skipper.

Reece Marshall and Paul Hill complete the front row, while lock Dom Barrow returns for the first time since November to join Ribbans in the engine room.

Lewis Ludlam will wear the No.7 jersey after impressing off the bench in France last weekend, with Jamie Gibson and Mitch Eadie packing down alongside him at the base of the scrum.

James Grayson begins at fly-half for Saints while Rory Hutchinson makes his second start of the season in the midfield – and Andrew Kellaway, Ollie Sleightholme and George Furbank complete the XV in the back three.

Meanwhile on the bench Jamal Ford-Robinson and Nafi Tuitavake are both in line for their first and second appearances in Black, Green and Gold of the season respectively after recovering from knee and neck injuries.

Tickets are still available for this Friday’s clash against Timisoara Saracens, starting from £20 for adults and £10 for juniors. To book now, please CLICK HERE.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS v TIMISOARA SARACENS
European Challenge Cup Pool One, Round Six
Friday 18 January 2019
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 8pm

15. George Furbank
14. Ollie Sleightholme
13. Rory Hutchinson
12. Luther Burrell
11. Andrew Kellaway
10. James Grayson
9. Alex Mitchell

1. Alex Waller (c)
2. Reece Marshall
3. Paul Hill
4. David Ribbans
5. Dom Barrow
6. Jamie Gibson
7. Lewis Ludlam
8. Mitch Eadie

Replacements:
16. James Fish
17. Will Davis
18. Jamal Ford-Robinson
19. Alex Coles
20. Tom Wood
21. Charlie Davies
22. Nafi Tuitavake
23. Tom Collins

Not available for selection:
Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), James Craig (concussion), Tom Emery (shoulder), Mikey Haywood (knee), Dylan Hartley (knee), Piers Francis (shoulder), and Dan Biggar (knee).

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