Tom Wood, Api Ratuniyarawa and Nafi Tuitavake all return to Northampton Saints’ starting line-up this weekend as they prepare to host Sale Sharks on Saturday.
Technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney and interim head coach Alan Dickens have made just three changes to the side that narrowly went down to Aviva Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs last weekend for the clash at Franklin’s Gardens, kick-off 3pm.
😇 Your Saints are... pic.twitter.com/R6WEv537TJ
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) March 2, 2018
Saints’ two clashes with the Sharks so far this season have come down to the final play of the game, with both sides notching up one win each so far, but the hosts are unbeaten on home soil in 2018 and Sale have not been victorious at Franklin’s Gardens since May 2006.
Wood returns to the Saints back-row to partner up with Heinrich Brüssow and Teimana Harrison, while Ratuniyarawa has shaken off the knock which kept him out of last weekend’s trip to Sandy Park.
The titanic Fijian joins skipper Christian Day in the engine room, while the hosts’ front row remains unchanged meaning Campese Ma’afu, Mikey Haywood and Kieran Brookes will pack down together once again.
Saints’ back-line is largely unchanged, but Ahsee Tuala makes the shift to fullback as Nafi Tuitavake – who grabbed the match-winning score the last time Northampton met Sale – comes in on the wing.
Rob Horne and Luther Burrell continue in Saints’ midfield after impressing together over the last two weeks, and half-backs Piers Francis and Nic Groom are also retained.
And Ken Pisi, who has five tries from six appearances in 2018, returns to take a spot amongst the replacements – Jamie Gibson also switching onto the bench.
There is no further update to the Club's statement from yesterday regarding the weather; our staff are still working around the clock to prepare Franklin's Gardens for tomorrow's game. Please CLICK HERE for more information.
Tickets are still available for Saints' home clash with Sale Sharks on Saturday 3 March from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.
SAINTS v SALE SHARKS TEAM NEWS
Aviva Premiership Rugby, Round 17
Saturday 3rd March, 2018
15 Ahsee Tuala
1 Campese Ma’afu
15 Mike Haley
1 Ross Harrison
Alex Waller, James Craig and David Ribbans are all unavailable for selection.