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Six changes for Saints ahead of second Premiership Rugby Cup clash

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has made six changes to his Northampton Saints starting XV ahead of this weekend’s Premiership Rugby Cup Pool 3 clash against Harlequins.

Despite recovering from a 19-point deficit in the second half, the men in Black, Green and Gold eventually went down in their competition opener to London Irish last weekend, but travel to Twickenham Stoop on Friday (kick-off: 7.45pm) looking to turn that result on its head.

Alex Coles once again skippers a young Northampton side, but the 22-year-old switches from flanker to lock for the showdown with Quins, and joins Alex Moon in the engine room.

That paves the way for Senior Academy players Ollie Newman and Geordie Irvine to make their first starts for Saints in the back row, with Karl Wilkins also switching from No.8 to flanker.

Tighthead Conor Carey is another in line for a maiden start in Black, Green and Gold, with hooker Mike Haywood also coming into the front row and loosehead Emmanuel Iyogun rounding off the pack.

Two changes to Saints’ back-line see Tom Collins come onto the wing, and scrum-half Connor Tupai make his first start of the season.

That means James Grayson continues at fly-half, as do centres Tom Litchfield and Rory Hutchinson, with Josh Gillespie and fullback George Hendy completing the line-up in the back three after the duo both got on the scoresheet last time out.

Amongst the replacements, JJ Tonks returns from injury to feature in a matchday 23 for the first time this season, while wing Courtnall Skosan will be hoping to build on an impressive start to his Saints career having scored five tries in three appearances so far.

HARLEQUINS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Premiership Rugby Cup, Round 2
Friday 19 November 2021
Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 7.45pm

15 George Hendy
14 Josh Gillespie
13 Tom Litchfield
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Tom Collins
10 James Grayson
9 Connor Tupai

1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Mike Haywood
3 Conor Carey
4 Alex Moon
5 Alex Coles (c)
6 Karl Wilkins
7 Ollie Newman
8 Geordie Irvine

Replacements:
16 James Fish
17 Nick Auterac
18 Karl Garside
19 Tom Lockett
20 JJ Tonks
21 Tom James
22 Ethan Grayson
23 Courtnall Skosan

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, Teimana Harrison, Oisín Heffernan, Dani Long-Martinez, Reece Marshall, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Brandon Nansen, Matt Proctor, Ollie Sleightholme, Kayde Sylvester, Ahsee Tuala and Tom Wood.

International duty:
Dan Biggar, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Courtney Lawes, Frank Lomani, Lewis Ludlam, Sam Matavesi, Alex Mitchell, and Api Ratuniyarawa.

Referee: Mike Hudson
Assistant referees: Dean Richards and Paul Dix
No.4: Michael Woods

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