Northampton Saints v London Irish Premiership Preview

Northampton Saints host London Irish at Franklins Gardens

London Irish have been forced into making one change to the side that played Worcester for this week’s clash against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Johnny Williams replaces Aseli Tikoirotuma in the midfield with the Fijian missing through injury.

Andrew Fenby, Topsy Ojo and Ciaran Hearn all start together in the back three with Fergus Mulchrone alongside Williams in the midfield. Shane Geraghty and Scott Steele start at fly half and scrum half respectively.

Tom Court, David Paice and Halani Aulika are once again together in the front row with Matt Symons and Will Lloyd in the second row. Jebb Sinclair, Luke Narraway and Rob McCusker are the back row trio.

Gerard Ellis, Tom Smallbone, Leo Halavatau, Ian Nagle and Ofisa Treviranus make up the forward replacements. Darren Allinson, Theo Brophy Clews and Dom Waldouck will cover the backs.

London Irish Head Coach, Tom Coventry said: “It is important we build on the momentum gained by last weekend’s win against Worcester. The squad have trained well this week and are looking forward to the challenge of taking on Northampton in front of their home supporters.”

Meanwhile the Exiles have revealed that Aseli Tikoirotuma sustained damage to his medial ligament in his left knee during last weekend’s match against Worcester. He will be in a brace for six weeks and his management will be reviewed following that period.

Curiously Northampton Saints’ last three matches have all been won by the away side on the day, the Saints being victorious s at Scarlets and Harlequins, and Wasps winning at Franklin’s Gardens.

The East Midlanders have not lost successive games at their historic home since December 2012.

London Irish’s last six fixtures in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day whilst the Exiles have not triumphed on the road in the tournament since a trip to London Welsh on 28 February 2015.

London Irish won 25-23 when the two clubs met at Madejski Stadium in round 7 and have never achieved a Premiership Rugby double over Saints in the same season.

The Exiles only victory at Franklin’s Gardens since 2004 was 14-13 in Aviva Premiership Rugby in September 2011.

New Zealanders James Wilson comes in to the starting line-up for Northampton Saints to make his first start of the 2015/16 season on the left wing.

George Pisi taking Wilson’s place among the replacements for the Aviva Premiership tie as the only other change to the match day 23 that won dramtically at Harlequins last time out.

Match : Northampton Saints v London Irish
Date : Saturday 13 February
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Tim Wigglesworth (101st Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Sean Davey.


Northampton Saints

15 Ben Foden , 14 Jamie Elliott , 13 Luther Burrell , 12 Harry Mallinder , 11 James Wilson , 10 Stephen Myler , 9 Lee Dickson (capt) , 1 Alex Waller , 2 Mikey Haywood , 3 Kieran Brookes , 4 James Craig , 5 Christian Day , 6 Jamie Gibson , 7 Tom Wood , 8 Sam Dickinson

Replacements : 16 Reece Marshall , 17 Ethan Waller , 18 Gareth Denman , 19 Victor Matfield , 20 Teimana Harrison , 21 Tom Kessell , 22 JJ Hanrahan , 23 George Pisi

London Irish

15. Andrew Fenby; 14. Topsy Ojo ; 13. Fergus Mulchrone; 12. Johnny Williams; 11. Ciaran Hearn ; 10. Shane Geraghty ; 9. Scott Steele; 1. Tom Court ; 2. David Paice ; 3. Halani Aulika ; 4. Matt Symons; 5. Will Lloyd; 6. Jebb Sinclair ; 7.Luke Narraway ; 8. Rob McCusker

Replacements: 16. Gerard Ellis; 17. Tom Smallbone; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Ian Nagle; 20. Ofisa Treviranus ; 21. Darren Allinson; 22. Theo Brophy-Clews; 23. Dom Waldouck

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