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Premiership Rugby

Saints without Grayson and Smith for Sharks

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Both Grayson (ankle) and Smith (shoulder) were casualties from Northampton's narrow 22-20 defeat by Premiership strugglers Newcastle Falcons last Sunday.

The injuries have resulted in Saints coach Wayne Smith selecting James Brooks to start in the No.10 jersey, while prop Robbie Morris swaps to loosehead in place of Smith – Matt Stewart taking up the role at tighthead.

Coach Smith's side has received a further blow with a number of players out through injury including lock Jon Phillips (rib), hooker Dan Richmond (knee) and centre Chris Hyndman (concussion), while second rower Steve Williams and wing Jon Sleightholme are both out sick.

The match on Saturday will therefore be a tough one for the depleted Saints side as the Sharks currently ride high in third place and are battling for second spot to win a bye into the Zurich Premiership Final, or home advantage in the semi-final.

Despite the blows dealt to the injury ravaged side, coach Smith admitted that the team was looking forward to the challenge, saying: "We have not beaten them since I have been here, so the challenge is great. When times are tough some men break, others break records. Hopefully, the true character of the team will be shown."

Northampton Saints: 15 Nick Beal, 14 Oriol Ripol, 13 Bruce Reihana, 12 John Leslie (captain), 11 Ben Cohen, 10 James Brooks, 9 Matt Dawson, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Budge Pountey, 6 Darren Fox, 5 Mark Connors, 4 Matt Lord, 3 Matt Stewart, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Robbie Morris.Replacements: 16 Matt Miles, 17 Chris Budgen, 18 Rob Hunter, 19 Grant Seely, 20 Ian Vass, 21 Mark Tucker, 22 Peter Jorgensen.

Kick-off: 16.00 (15.00 GMT)

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