Northampton v Gloucester Premiership Preview

Northampton Saints host Leicester Tigers Franklins Gardens

Northampton Saints and Gloucester have named their line ups to face each other at Franklin’s Gardens with just one point separating the two teams in the Aviva Premiership.


Northampton Saints’ last four games in all competitions have all been won by the home side on the day.


The Saints have won just one of their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures at Franklin’s Gardens: against London Welsh, 23-16, on 24 November.


Gloucester Rugby suffered their biggest home loss for over three years with their 5-32 defeat to Bath in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday. Gloucester have lost their last three away matches in the Premiership.


The two clubs have already met twice this season with the Saints victorious on both occasions in the Premiership and Anglo-Welsh Cup.


Gloucester’s only win at Franklin’s Gardens against Northampton since 2007 was 18-16 in February 2011.


Nigel Davies’ Gloucester side were in LV= Cup action at the same venue just a fortnight ago, but it’s a very different looking line up that will take the field on Saturday.


Jonny May and Nick Wood both return having been on England Saxons duty for the past two weeks and are both named in the starting line up.


Other changes to the team that started against Bath Rugby last weekend, see Darren Dawidiuk, Will James, Akapusi Qera and Dan Robson all come in.


Looking back on that LV= Cup game of two weeks ago, Davies insisted this week that only so much can be read into the display.


“We kept our powder dry going into that game, we’ve got a few things going into this game which we’ve held back.”


Despite the two LV= Cup defeats of the last two weeks, Davies stressed that Gloucester are ready for the task in hand this weekend.


“It’s been a complete refocus this week, and a re-organisation of what we’ve been looking at. And this has been planned. We’d have preferred to be going into this one off the back of two wins, but we’re pretty clear about what we need to do.


Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that it is important that the home players and supporters are up for the challenge.


“After four weeks of cup action we are looking forward to getting back to the Aviva Premiership,” he commented.


We’re well placed in the league table and close to the top four, and with nine games left there is everything to play for. “


Match : Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby
Date : Saturday 9th February
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens
Kick Off : 12.30pm
Live on: Sky Sports HD
Match Officials
Referee
: Martin Fox (83rd Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Watson, Robin Goodliffe.
TMO: David Grashoff


Teams


Northampton Saints:


15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 Phil Dowson (capt), 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha.


Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 James Craig, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May.


Gloucester Rugby:


Rob Cook; Charlie Sharples, Mike Tindall (capt), Tim Molenaar, Jonny May; Ryan Mills, Dan Robson; Nick Wood, Darren Dawidiuk, Rupert Harden; Lua Lokotui, Will James; Tom Savage, Akapusi Qera, Sione Kalamafoni


Replacements:Tommaso d’Apice, Dan Murphy, Yann Thomas, Peter Buxton, Matt Cox, Jimmy Cowan, Shane Monahan, Martyn Thomas

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