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Saints name unchanged side for Gallagher Premiership Final

Phil Dowson has named a completely unchanged matchday 23 as Northampton Saints head to their first Gallagher Premiership Final since 2014 – facing Bath Rugby in the league’s showpiece finale on Saturday (8 June, kick-off: 3pm).

The men in Black, Green and Gold topped the league during the regular season, winning 12 of their 18 matches before defeating reigning champions Saracens 22-20 in last week’s sold-out semi-final clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens. 

Northampton will make only their third appearance in the Final in the competition’s history, exactly a decade on from lifting Saints’ first-ever domestic league title; and face Bath in a Final for only the second time in all competitions, having defeated the West Country side 30-16 in Cardiff to lift the Challenge Cup back in 2014. 

Saints will bid farewell to several stalwarts of the Club in the last match of the 2023/24 season, with Courtney Lawes leading the team on his 283rd and final match representing Northampton, while triple centurion Alex Waller, 122-time Saint Alex Moon and Club Captain Lewis Ludlam are also among those making their final bow in the matchday 23. 

England internationals Curtis Langdon, Trevor Davison, Alex Coles and Tom Pearson all retain their places in Saints’ pack alongside captain Lawes and lock Moon, with No.8 Juarno Augustus – who beat more defenders than any other player in the semi-finals (five) – also staying on to complete the pack. 

Scrum-half Alex Mitchell – who made more clean breaks (four) than any other player in last weekend’s clash – joins top-points scorer Fin Smith in the half-back berths for the final time this season. 

Saints stick with their prolific back-three combination of Ollie Sleightholme, Tommy Freeman and George Furbank, with Fraser Dingwall partnering last week’s only try-scorer Burger Odendaal in Northampton’s midfield. 

Back row Ludlam will make his final appearances as a Saint from amongst Northampton’s replacements, while there’s also room for Sam Matavesi, Emmanuel Iyogun, Elliot Millar Mills, Temo Mayanavanua, Sam Graham, Tom James and George Hendy as Saints opt for a 6-2 split on the bench for the Final.

“Throughout the season, we have had lots and lots of players contribute a lot. We have relied on the depth of the squad and there are a lot of players who are unlucky not to be involved and are frustrated about that,” said Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson.

“But the one thing I will say about the group is that whoever is playing and whoever isn’t, those players who haven’t been involved who have had to swallow their ambition a little bit and put the team first, I think that is an outstanding Saints-first attitude. They have been brilliant, to a man.”

Phil Dowson, Director of Rugby

“Clearly it is difficult to pick for big games like this, because these are the games that define people. It’s a big game that everyone wants to play in, so there is some disappointment and pressure around that, but we have gone with the team that we think best suits us to get a good performance.

“There is a responsibility for every player picked to wear that shirt and represent all of us. We win together, we lose together, it is a huge squad effort and everyone has a role to play. It might not be the role you choose at the moment, but you have got to keep on grafting away until it is.”

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs BATH RUGBY
Gallagher Premiership Final
Saturday 8 June, 2024
Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Burger Odendaal
12 Fraser Dingwall
11 Ollie Sleightholme
10 Fin Smith
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller
2 Curtis Langdon
3 Trevor Davison
4 Alex Moon
5 Alex Coles
6 Courtney Lawes (c)
7 Tom Pearson
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements:
16 Sam Matavesi
17 Emmanuel Iyogun
18 Elliot Millar Mills
19 Temo Mayanavanua
20 Sam Graham
21 Lewis Ludlam
22 Tom James
23 George Hendy

Not available for selection:
Callum Braley.

BATH TEAM TO FACE SAINTS: 
15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Thomas du Toit, 4 Quinn Roux, 5 Charlie Ewels, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Alfie Barbeary.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Miles Reid.

Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant referee: Luke Pearce and Anthony Woodthorpe
No.4: Ian Tempest
TMO: Tom Foley

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