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Wilkins to make debut as Saints travel to Sale Sharks

Karl Wilkins will make his debut in Black, Green and Gold this weekend as Northampton Saints travel to Sale Sharks in Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership.

Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has made eight changes to the side defeated by Leicester Tigers last weekend, with Tommy Freeman and Lewis Ludlam returning from international duty to take their places in the starting XV.

Flanker Ludlam will lead out Northampton at the AJ Bell Stadium, with debutant Wilkins – a Saints Academy graduate who rejoined the Club in the summer from AS Béziers Hérault – joining him in the back row, and Juarno Augustus continuing in the No.8 jersey.

Alex Moon comes into the visitors’ engine room and partners David Ribbans, while Alex Waller is the only survivor from last weekend’s starting front row as the loosehead prop packs down alongside hooker James Fish and tighthead Paul Hill.

There are three changes to Saints’ back-line as Freeman returns at fullback after being released by England during the week.

Courtnall Skosan continues on the wing and will be looking to add to his five tries in just two Northampton appearances so far, with Tom Collins rounding off the back three.

There’s a new-look half-back pairing for Northampton as James Grayson comes into the No.10 jersey, with scrum-half Tom James named for his first appearance of the season in Black, Green and Gold.

Rory Hutchinson switches back into Saints’ midfield after donning the No.15 jersey against Tigers, with Fraser Dingwall joining him in the centres – the 22-year-old is now the only player to have started every match this term for the men in Black, Green and Gold.

Amongst the replacements, Brandon Nansen is also in line to make his Northampton debut, with the likes of Teimana Harrison, Piers Francis, and Alex Coles looking to make an impact off the bench.

SALE SHARKS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 8
Saturday 6 November 2021
AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 5pm

15 Tommy Freeman
14 Courtnall Skosan
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Tom Collins
10 James Grayson
9 Tom James

1 Alex Waller
2 James Fish
3 Paul Hill
4 David Ribbans
5 Alex Moon
6 Karl Wilkins
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Emmanuel Iyogun
18 Ehren Painter
19 Brandon Nansen
20 Alex Coles
21 Teimana Harrison
22 Connor Tupai
23 Piers Francis

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, Oisín Heffernan, George Hendy, Dani Long-Martinez, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Ollie Newman, Matt Proctor, Ollie Sleightholme, JJ Tonks, Ahsee Tuala and Tom Wood.

International duty:
Nick Auterac, Dan Biggar, George Furbank, Courtney Lawes, Frank Lomani, Sam Matavesi, Alex Mitchell, and Api Ratuniyarawa.

Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald and Wayne Falla
No.4: Peter Allan
TMO: Hamish Smales

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