Matt Proctor, Lewis Ludlam and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto all return to Northampton Saints’ starting line-up this weekend as Director of Rugby Phil Dowson makes three changes to his side to face Bath.
The men in Black, Green and Gold travel to the Rec on Saturday afternoon (kick-off: 3pm, broadcast on PRTV Live) having won their last four matches in all competitions with a bonus point.
Saints recorded a season’s double over Bath last term for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign, and will be looking to extend that winning run in the West Country.
England international Ludlam returns to the back row to captain Saints, with Alex Coles keeping his spot at blindside flanker and Juarno Augustus – who scored his tenth Northampton try in the win over Newcastle Falcons last week – selected at No.8.
Salakaia-Loto meanwhile is called into the engine room in the only other change to Saints’ pack, with David Ribbans continuing at lock and Dowson opting with an unchanged front row of Alex Waller, Sam Matavesi and Paul Hill.
Northampton have been fluid in attack so far this season, making more metres (3,238) with the ball in hand and throwing more offloads (85) than any other team in the league, and there’s just one change to the back line this week with Proctor replacing the injured Rory Hutchinson in the centres for his 50th appearance in the Gallagher Premiership.
Fraser Dingwall (who has crossed the gainline 36 times so far this season, more than any other player in the league) completes Saints’ midfield with the visitors’ half-back combination of James Grayson and Alex Mitchell unchanged inside him.
Tom Collins and Ollie Sleightholme, both of whom crossed the whitewash last weekend, continue in the back three with the in-form George Furbank selected at fullback. The 26-year-old England international has made the second-most metres (467) of anyone in the Gallagher Premiership so far, and more carries (68) than any other back.
Saints’ bench is packed full of youth with the likes of Emmanuel Iyogun, Alfie Petch, Tom Litchfield and George Hendy hoping to make an impact if they enter the action.
BATH RUGBY vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 7
Saturday 22 October 2022
The Recreation Ground
15 George Furbank
14 Tom Collins
13 Matt Proctor – 50th Premiership appearance
12 Fraser Dingwall
11 Ollie Sleightholme
10 James Grayson
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Alex Waller
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5 David Ribbans
6 Alex Coles
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus
16 Robbie Smith
17 Emmanuel Iyogun
18 Alfie Petch
19 Alex Moon
20 Sam Graham
21 Tom James
22 Tom Litchfield
23 George Hendy
Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Dan Biggar, Tommy Freeman, Aston Gradwick-Light, Rory Hutchinson, Courtney Lawes, George Patten, Courtnall Skosan, and Karl Wilkins.
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant Referees: Nick Wood and Simon Harding
No.4: Harry Walbaum
TMO: Stuart Terheege
BATH TEAM TO PLAY SAINTS
15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Butt, 10 George Worboys, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Juan Schoeman, 2 Tom Dunn (c), 3 Aranos Coetzee, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Quinn Roux, 6 Josh Bayliss, 7 Miles Reid, 8 Richard de Carpentier
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Fergus Lee-Warner, 20 Ted Hill, 21 Tom Carr-Smith, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Max Ojomoh