Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has named his side for Sunday’s Champions Cup quarter-final at Exeter Chiefs, with Courtney Lawes set for his 50th appearance in Europe’s elite tournament.
The men in Black, Green and Gold travel to Sandy Park for the first-ever meeting between the sides in European competition – it is however the ninth time Saints have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, winning on three previous occasions.
Lawes, who already has more than 200 Club appearances to his name, notches up another milestone in his storied career on Sunday as he brings up a half century of Champions Cup appearances.
He lines up in the back row alongside England teammate Lewis Ludlam and Saints skipper Teimana Harrison at No.8.
David Ribbans and Api Ratuniyarawa start in the engine room, while Mikey Haywood is named at hooker and World Cup-winning All Black Owen Franks at tighthead prop.
Northampton’s injury concerns at loosehead have been well publicised this week and 19-year-old prop Manny Iyogun will make his Champions Cup debut for Saints, with Gloucester loanee Alex Seville coming straight onto the bench to provide cover for the men in Black, Green and Gold.
Dan Biggar – who averaged more points per game (13.6) than any other player to play more than once in the pool stage of the competition – starts in the No.10 jersey, with scrum-half Henry Taylor given the nod inside of him.
Amongst the replacements, Saints go with a 6-2 split with the likes of Nick Isiekwe, Shaun Adendorff, Alex Mitchell, and Taqele Naiyaravoro hoping to make an impact off the bench.
EXETER CHIEFS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Heineken Champions Cup, Quarter-Final
Sunday 20 September 2020
15 George Furbank
14 Matt Proctor
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Ahsee Tuala
10 Dan Biggar
9 Henry Taylor
1 Manny Iyogun
2 Mikey Haywood
3 Owen Franks
4 David Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam
8 Teimana Harrison (c)
Not available due to injury:
Nick Auterac (groin), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (achilles), Alex Coles (ankle), Tom Collins (foot), Piers Francis (shin), Harry Mallinder (knee), Ollie Sleightholme (hamstring), Connor Tupai (wrist), Francois van Wyk (knee), Alex Waller (achilles), and Tom Wood (illness).
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce and Tom Foley
TMO: Stuart Terheege
No.4: Christophe Ridley