Northampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons Premiership Preview

Northampton Saints will host Newcastle Falcons at StadiumMK

Newcastle Falcons have brought a host of their returning Rugby World Cup stars back for this weekend’s Aviva Premiership match against Northampton Saints at stadiummk on Saturday.

The return of the Falcons internationals meand that the starting XV that played last week has six changes for this weekend.

In a strong team, two of the changes come on the wings as Giovanbattista Venditti makes his club debut and Alesana Tuilagi makes his first start of the season, giving powerful strike options out wide.

The rest of the backline remains unchanged from the season opening game against Gloucester, with Simon Hammersely at fullback, Adam Powell and Chris Harris in the centres, with Ruki Tipuna and Mike Delany the halfbacks.

A total of four changes come in the pack, with Scottish international tighthead prop Jon Welsh making his club debut following his return from World Cup duty, joining Rob Vickers and Scott Lawson in the front row.

Another swap in the second row sees Italian international Josh Furno switch with England international Mouritz Botha to pack down alongside Calum Green.

Tongan international Nili Latu joins Venditti in making his first start for the club on the openside flank, as Will Welch lies in wait on the bench after passing tests following a knock to the head against Gloucester.

As a result, the remainder of back row sees a positional shuffle with Todd Clever moving to the blindside while Ally Hogg comes in at number eight, from where he will also captain the side.

On the bench, a good mix of international class and some of the clubs best home produced talent, with Eric Fry, Taione Vea, Botha and Welch providing the experience alongside the exuberance of George McGuigan, Ruaridh Dawson, Tom Catterick and Tom Penny.

Northampton Saints have lost their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby matches but have not lost four in a row in the tournament since September 2011.

The Saints have played five previous matches at stadiummk, winning three and losing two, with the two previous Premiership Rugby encounters both being against Saracens – losing in 2012 and winning in April 2015.

Newcastle Falcons only victory in the last ten rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 37-21 at home to Harlequins in round 22 last season.

The Falcons solitary away victory in the competition last season came at relegated London Welsh in October.

Northampton have won their last eleven contests with Newcastle in all tournaments since the Falcons were victorious 19-13 at Franklin’s Gardens in Premiership Rugby in February 2009.

Meanwhile Northampton Saints have made three changes to last week’s starting line up.

Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes and George Pisi all come into the side that will run out just before 1:45pm, with Michael Paterson and Jon Fisher dropping to the bench.

Samoan international Ahsee Tuala joins the match day 23 for the first time this season.

The Saints are hosting the match at stadiummk in Milton Keynes while Franklin’s Gardens continues its transformation with the development of the new Barwell Stand.

Match : Northampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons
Date : Saturday 24th October
Venue : stadiummk
Kick Off : 1.45pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Dean Richards (82nd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Andy Watson
TMO: Keith Lewis.

Teams

Northampton

15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Waller

Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 JJ Harrahan, 23 Ahsee Tuala

Newcastle Falcons

15 Hammersley, 14 Venditti, 13 Harris, 12 Powell, 11 Tuilagi, 10 Delany, 9 Tipuna, 8 Hogg (C) , 7 Latu, 6 Clever, 5 Furno, 4 Green, 3 Welsh, 2 Lawson, 1 Vickers

Replacements 16 McGuigan, 17 Fry, 18 Vea, 19 Botha, 20 Welch, 21 Dawson, 22 Catterick, 23 Penny.

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