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Premiership Rugby

Pountney to lead Saints Select XV against Cats

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Pountney will be without his regular back row partner, Andy Blowers, who picked up a hand injury at the weekend, but his replacement Darren Fox, and No.8 Mark Soden will not take a backwards step against the Cats loose trio.

The Cats' back row would be unknown to most British rugby fans, although a certain Bob Skinstad will start from the bench as he makes his comeback from off-season shoulder surgery.

Former Chiefs wing Bruce Reihana gets to renew old Super 12 acquaintances – albeit from the centres – with former England wing Jon Sleighthome and Oriol Ripol offering the Saints XV some pace out wide.

The Saints Select XV, like the Cats, have also announced an enlarged bench, with former Scotland captain John Leslie the biggest name amongst the nine replacements.

"This is a huge opportunity for these guys. We are looking to test some of these players to see whether they can front at this level," said the Saints Select XV coach Brendon Ratcliffe.

"We know The Cats are tough and will come here wanting to really take us on as they are in their preparation phase for the Super 12 competition. We are expecting a good old battle."

Saints Select VX: 15 Nick Beal, 14 Jon Sleighthome, 13 Bruce Reihana, 12 Mark Tucker, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 James Brooks, 9 Ian Vass, 8 Mark Soden, 7 Budge Pountney (captain), 6 Darren Fox, 5 Jon Phillips, 4 Rob Hunter, 3 Chris Budgen, 2 Dan Richmond, 1 Brett Sturgess.Replacements: 16 Matt Miles, 17 Kelvin Todd, 18 Simon Hepher, 19 Grant Seely, 20 Matt Lord, 21 John Leslie, 22 Ali Hepher, 23 Ben Whetstone, 24 Spencer Brown.

Kick-off: 20.00 GMT

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