Harry Mallinder and David Ribbans both come back into Northampton Saints’ starting line-up this Saturday, as the men in Black, Green and Gold travel to Exeter Chiefs.
The Saints make just the two changes for the trip to Sandy Park to take on the reigning Aviva Premiership champions, after coming from behind to beat London Irish last weekend.
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— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) February 23, 2018
Harry Mallinder lines up at fullback for the first time since December, having worn the No.10 jersey on his last three starts for Saints.
The 21-year-old was released by England earlier in the week after training with Eddie Jones’ Red Rose squad during their preparations to take on Scotland.
David Ribbans comes into the engine room to join skipper Christian Day in the only other change to Saints’ starting XV, with the front row of Campese Ma’afu, Mikey Haywood, Kieran Brookes lining up together again.
Heinrich Brüssow makes his first appearance away from home in the Black, Green and Gold – with the in-form Jamie Gibson and last week’s man-of-the-match Teimana Harrison making up the rest of the back row.
And Michael Paterson is the only change to the replacements for Saints as technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney and interim head coach Alan Dickens stick with largely the same formula that came good against Irish at Franklin’s Gardens.
“Exeter are a team that you know will play and play, looking after the ball more than other teams, and they will always try to have the most possession,” said Dickens.
“They have a great squad and Sandy Park is a tough place to go. I know this week will be no different – we’ve already been there once this season in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
“But there were a lot of positive signs when we played them back in December at Franklin’s Gardens, so it’s a challenge that we are looking forward to.”
Tickets are now available for Saints home clash with Sale Sharks on Saturday 3 March from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.
EXETER CHIEFS v SAINTS TEAM NEWS
Aviva Premiership Rugby, Round 16
Saturday 24th February, 2018
15 Lachie Turner
1 Alec Hepburn
15 Harry Mallinder
1 Campese Ma’afu