Matt Proctor, Tom Wood and Juarno Augustus all return to Northampton Saints’ starting XV this weekend as Director of Rugby Chris Boyd makes five changes ahead of Saturday’s East Midlands Derby.
Tom Collins and Ehren Painter are also included for the visit of Leicester Tigers, with the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens clash (kick-off: 3pm) completely sold-out and live on BT Sport 3.
Saints have won seven of the last nine meetings between the sides in all competitions, but Leicester head to Northampton this weekend top of the table and unbeaten so far this season for what is set to be a mouth-watering encounter.
Boyd welcomes centre Proctor back into the hosts’ midfield, with the All Black resuming his partnership with Fraser Dingwall and Rory Hutchinson shifting to fullback to start in the No.15 jersey for only the second time in his Northampton career.
Courtnall Skosan – after scoring a hat-trick on his Club debut against Worcester Warriors last weekend – continues in the back three, but Collins is selected on the opposite wing in the only other change to Saints’ back-line.
Meanwhile fly-half Dan Biggar and last weekend’s man-of-the-match Alex Mitchell continue in the half-back berths for the men in Black, Green and Gold for the fourth match running.
Up front there are three changes to Northampton’s pack with tighthead Painter coming into the front row alongside hooker Sam Matavesi and stand-in skipper Alex Waller.
Locks David Ribbans and Api Ratuniyarawa continue in the engine room but Wood and No.8 Augustus start as part of a back-row reshuffle, with Teimana Harrison moving across to the open-side.
Amongst the replacements, tighthead prop Paul Hill is in line to make his 100th Gallagher Premiership appearance should he enter the action, while the likes of Frank Lomani, James Grayson and Tom Litchfield will all also hope to make an impact off the bench.
NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LEICESTER TIGERS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 7
Saturday 30 October 2021
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
15 Rory Hutchinson
14 Courtnall Skosan
13 Matt Proctor
12 Fraser Dingwall
11 Tom Collins
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Alex Waller (c)
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Ehren Painter
4 David Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Tom Wood
7 Teimana Harrison
8 Juarno Augustus
16 Mike Haywood
17 Nick Auterac
18 Paul Hill
19 Alex Moon
20 Alex Coles
21 Frank Lomani
22 James Grayson
23 Tom Litchfield
Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, Piers Francis, Oisín Heffernan, George Hendy, Dani Long-Martinez, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Ollie Newman, Ollie Sleightholme, JJ Tonks, and Ahsee Tuala.
Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Courtney Lawes, and Lewis Ludlam.
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Jack Makepeace and John Meredith
No.4: Jamie Leahy
TMO: Claire Hodnett