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James Fitchew
James Fitchew

Wood leads Wanderers again for trip to Newcastle

Tom Wood will lead Northampton Wanderers for the second straight week as the side heads north to face Newcastle Falcons A in the Premiership Rugby Shield.

The 8pm kick-off will be broadcast live on Freesports, available on Freeview HD channel 95, Sky channel 422, or Virgin TV 130/553.

The Wandies – two-time defending champions – are unbeaten in this year’s competition after wins over Leicester Tigers and Sale Jets, before Wasps cancelled last Monday’s fixture.

But they will head to Kingston Park with a point to prove, with their only defeat last season coming at the hands of Falcons, who ended a 15-game unbeaten run in the competition for Northampton.

Academy manager Simon Sinclair and head coach Mark Hopley have once again mixed experience and youth within the side; veteran back-row Wood is named captain in the No.8 jersey as he continues his comeback from a long-term groin injury.

He is joined at the base of the Wandies scrum by senior academy flankers Joe Wallace and Paddy Ryan, with Alex Moon and Devante Onojaife making up the second row together for the first time this season.

Will Davis continues at loosehead prop while hooker Reece Marshall and Jamal Ford-Robinson bring some first-team experience into the front row.

Connor Tupai starts for the first time in the Shield this season at scrum-half, and will look to forge a partnership with George Furbank – who switches into the No.10 jersey from fullback.

Matt Worley opened the scoring in last Monday’s friendly against London Irish and will look to add to his account from the wing, with Tom Emery and Nottingham’s Jack Spittle joining him in the back three.

But there’s no change in the Wandies’ midfield as Fraser Strachan and Ollie Sleightholme continue in the centres after both crossed the whitewash last time out.

Premiership Rugby Shield, Round Four
Monday 1st October, 2018
Kingston Park
Kick-off: 8pm

15 Tom Emery
14 Matt Worley
13 Ollie Sleightholme
12 Fraser Strachan
11 Jack Spittle* (Nottingham)
10 George Furbank
9 Connor Tupai

1 Will Davis
2 Reece Marshall
3 Jamal Ford-Robinson
4 Alex Moon
5 Devante Onojaife
6 Joe Wallace
7 Paddy Ryan
8 Tom Wood (c)

16 Samson Ma’asi
17 Jack Culverhouse* (Ampthill)
18 Karl Garside* (Ampthill)
19 Alex Coles
20 Olly Povoas* (Coventry)
21 Morgan Dayes (U18)
22 Ciaran Whyte* (Ampthill)
23 Sam Evans* (Blackheath)

*Guest player

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