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Two changes for Saints ahead of Newcastle Falcons clash

Ollie Sleightholme and James Grayson return to Northampton Saints’ starting XV for Monday evening’s Gallagher Premiership clash against Newcastle Falcons.

Director of Rugby, Chris Boyd, makes two changes in total for the trip to Kingston Park, with the men in Black, Green and Gold looking to bounce back after a frustrating reverse against Gloucester last time out.

Northampton take on the Falcons for the first time this term after February’s fixture was cancelled, but boast a good recent record at Kingston Park having won on six of their last eight visits to Newcastle in the Premiership, and the match will be played in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,750.

Lewis Ludlam and Rory Hutchinson both celebrate personal milestones as they are selected at flanker and centre respectively for their 50th league appearances for Saints.

Hutchinson moves to inside centre with Matt Proctor wearing 13 for the visitors, paving the way for Sleightholme – who has scored nine tries in his last six appearances – to return from injury on the wing.

George Furbank continues at fullback with Tommy Freeman rounding off the back three on the other wing, and while Tom James is selected again at scrum-half, the only other change to Northampton’s starting line-up sees Grayson start in the No.10 jersey.

Loosehead prop Alex Waller leads out the side at Kingston Park with hooker Sam Matavesi and tighthead Paul Hill joining him in the front row, and David Ribbans and Api Ratuniyarawa make up the engine room for the second straight week.

Meanwhile flankers Ludlam and Tom Wood, plus No.8 Teimana Harrison, complete Saints’ line-up in the back row, and the likes of Tom Collins, Fraser Dingwall and Shaun Adendorff are primed to make an impact off the bench for Northampton.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 19
Monday 17 May 2021
Kingston Park
Kick-off: 7.30pm

15 George Furbank
14 Ollie Sleightholme
13 Matt Proctor
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Tommy Freeman
10 James Grayson
9 Tom James

1 Alex Waller (co-capt)
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 David Ribbans
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Tom Wood
7 Lewis Ludlam (co-capt)
8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Nick Auterac
18 Ehren Painter
19 Alex Coles
20 Shaun Adendorff
21 Henry Taylor
22 Fraser Dingwall
23 Tom Collins

Not available due to injury:
Piers Francis (quadricep), Owen Franks (foot), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (achilles), Nick Isiekwe (pectoral), Courtney Lawes (pectoral), and Alex Mitchell (ankle).

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson and Wayne Falla
No.4: John Meredith
TMO: Jack Makepeace

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