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James Fitchew Photography
James Fitchew Photography

Wood back for Saints as Boyd rings the changes for Dragons

Tom Wood returns to Northampton Saints’ starting line-up for the first time since March as Chris Boyd takes a much-changed starting XV to Newport for this Friday’s European Challenge Cup round two clash with Dragons. 

The back row forward – who started his comeback from a long-term groin injury with a duo of Wanderers appearances – joins Teimana Harrison and Jamie Gibson in the back row as Saints make their second trip of the season to Rodney Parade following their pre-season victory there in August. 

Elsewhere David Ribbans is reunited with Courtney Lawes in the second row after the England international missed out on Saints’ last two games. And Mikey Haywood comes in for club co-captain Dylan Hartley to make his first start of the season at hooker, with Ben Franks returning to the starting line-up to complete the front row alongside captain Alex Waller

It’s a first start in Black, Green and Gold for 21-year-old Alex Mitchell as he joins Dan Biggar to form a new half back combination; while Director of Rugby Chris Boyd sticks with the same midfield partnership that started the opening round of the European competition against Clermont Auvergne, with Piers Francis and Andrew Kellaway maintaining their places in the centre.

But Boyd makes some adjustments to the back three; with Taqele Naiyaravoro recalled to the left wing alongside Tom Collins, who switches to the right, and Ahsee Tuala reinstated at fullback following Harry Mallinder’s early departure from the game last weekend.

James Fish – who started Saints' first two games of the season – is also recalled to the match day 23, joining Francois van Wyk and Ehren Painter in the front row replacements. Last weekend’s debutant Dom Barrow joins Lewis Ludlam, Cobus Reinach, James Grayson and Luther Burrell to complete the bench.

Tickets for Northampton’s next home match, which sees Saints open their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign against Bristol Bears, are still available. Book your place from £28 adults and £12 juniors by CLICKING HERE

EPCR Challenge Cup, Round Two 
Friday 19th October, 2018
Rodney Parade 
Kick-off: 7.30pm

15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Tom Collins
13 Andrew Kellaway
12 Piers Francis
11 Taqele Naiyaravoro 
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell 

1 Alex Waller (captain)
2 Mikey Haywood 
3 Ben Franks
4 David Ribbans
5 Courtney Lawes
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Tom Wood 
8 Teimana Harrison 

16 James Fish 
17 Francois Van Wyk
18 Ehren Painter
19 Dom Barrow
20 Lewis Ludlam 
21 Cobus Reinach
22 James Grayson
23 Luther Burrell

Not available for selection:
Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee), Toby Trinder (foot), Ken Pisi (shoulder), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), Andy Symons (knee), Jamal Ford-Robinson (knee), Api Ratuniyarawa (ankle), Tom Emery (ankle),Harry Mallinder (knee) and James Haskell (ankle)

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