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Ten changes for Saints for Dragons clash

Ten changes for Saints for Dragons clash

Director of rugby Chris Boyd has made ten changes to his Northampton Saints side that will face Dragons in round three of the European Challenge Cup this weekend.

The men in Black, Green, and Gold welcome the Newport outfit to Franklin’s Gardens looking to leapfrog their Welsh opponents in Pool One on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

After a last-gasp defeat to Newcastle Falcons last time out, Boyd has shuffled his pack and given a number of Saints youngsters another opportunity to impress.

Wales international Dan Biggar remains within a much-changed Northampton backline, and partners scrum-half Alex Mitchell who makes his first start in four matches.

Taqele Naiyaravoro is retained on the wing, but otherwise it’s all change for Saints with Luther Burrell coming into the No.12 jersey and Rory Hutchinson named at outside centre for the first time this term after fully recovering from a knee injury sustained in preseason.

Meanwhile Academy players Ollie Sleightholme and George Furbank are both selected to make their European debuts and complete the back three.

Prop Alex Waller captains the side with James Fish coming in at hooker and Ben Franks rounding off the front row.

Api Ratuniyarawa and Alex Moon will provide the grunt in Saints’ engine room, and Tom Wood is recalled at openside flanker to join Jamie Gibson and Teimana Harrison at the base of the scrum.

Amongst the replacements Will Davis and Fraser Strachan are in line for European debuts if they come off the bench, while Ehren Painter returns to the matchday squad for the first time since October.

Tickets for Northampton Saints v Dragons at Franklin’s Gardens (Saturday 8 December, kick-off 3pm) are still available and can be purchased now.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS v DRAGONS
European Challenge Cup, Round Three
Saturday 8th December 2018
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank
14 Ollie Sleightholme
13 Rory Hutchinson
12 Luther Burrell
11 Taqele Naiyaravoro
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller (c)
2 James Fish
3 Ben Franks
4 Api Ratuniyarawa
5 Alex Moon
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Tom Wood
8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:
16 Reece Marshall
17 Will Davis
18 Ehren Painter
19 David Ribbans
20 Mitch Eadie
21 Cobus Reinach
22 Fraser Strachan
23 Andrew Kellaway

Not available for selection:
Ken Pisi (shoulder), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), James Haskell (ankle), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), James Craig (concussion), Tom Emery (shoulder), Mikey Haywood (knee), Tom Collins (eye), and Piers Francis (shoulder).

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