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Saints name side for Gallagher Premiership clash at Wasps

Matt Proctor, Alex Waller and Ollie Sleightholme all return to Northampton Saints’ line-up against Wasps, as Director of Rugby Phil Dowson makes six changes in total to his starting XV this weekend.

The men in Black, Green and Gold travel to the Coventry Building Society Arena on Sunday afternoon (kick-off: 3pm) looking for their second league victory of the campaign, with the clash being broadcast live on BT Sport.

Fixtures between Saints and Wasps in the Gallagher Premiership have been hotly contested over the last five seasons, with each side winning five matches apiece in that time – although Northampton were 27-22 victors on their last meeting back in March.

Dowson’s side have showcased their attacking quality throughout the league’s opening four rounds; making more metres with ball in hand (2,208), offloads (63), and beating more defenders (91) than any other side in the competition. However, Saints will be well aware of where they need to improve in Coventry, given they also lead the league in turnovers.

Following last weekend’s narrow loss away at Harlequins, Dowson makes four changes to Northampton’s pack, with loosehead prop Alex Waller returning to the side from injury (after a cameo in the Club’s midweek Premiership Rugby Cup fixture) and Paul Hill preferred at tighthead.

Sam Matavesi and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto keep their places at hooker and lock respectively, but there is one change in the engine room as Alex Moon starts his second match of the season, while Alex Coles switches into the back row.

Lewis Ludlam will lead out Northampton from openside flanker, while in the No.8 jersey Sam Graham starts for the first time in a Gallagher Premiership match for Saints.

Tommy Freeman could break a Gallagher Premiership record (which he equalled last weekend against Quins) on Sunday by scoring in his ninth consecutive league match – he starts on the wing for Saints with Ollie Sleightholme and fullback George Furbank making up the rest of the back three.

New Zealand international Proctor returns to the visitors’ midfield as Fraser Dingwall remains at inside centre, and Northampton’s half-back pairing of Dan Biggar and Alex Mitchell continue together for the third straight week.

Meanwhile amongst the replacements for Saints, David Ribbans and Ethan Waller are set to return to Premiership action from injury, and hooker Robbie Smith could make his league debut for the Club if he enters the action from the bench.

Gallagher Premiership, Round 5
Sunday 9 October 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena
Kick-off: 3pm (Live on BT Sport)

15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Matt Proctor
12 Fraser Dingwall
11 Ollie Sleightholme
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5 Alex Moon
6 Alex Coles
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Sam Graham

16 Robbie Smith
17 Ethan Waller
18 Alfie Petch
19 David Ribbans
20 Juarno Augustus
21 Tom James
22 Rory Hutchinson
23 Courtnall Skosan

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, James Fish, Joseph Gaffan, Mike Haywood, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Courtney Lawes, and Karl Wilkins.

Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson and John Meredith
No.4: Shane Lewis
TMO: Claire Hodnett

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