Chris Boyd has followed through on his claim that he would rest some star names and play youngsters instead as he has made eight changes to his Northampton side for Saturday’s Champions Cup assignment at Leinster. Speaking on BT Sport in the wake of last week’s agonising round one loss at home to Bordeaux, Boyd candidly admitted he would likely send an understrength team to Dublin.
“I’m not worried about the Premiership for now but with the way this new European structure is with pools of three, particularly when you’re on the back end of the seeding like we were, seeded against Bordeaux and Leinster, I think you have got to win three games out of four to hope to go through so we will probably change tack and give some youngsters a run next week and give some boys a rest.”
His admission was widely criticised after a weekend in which English clubs won just two of the eight Champions Cup opening round matches they were involved in, but Boyd has stuck to his plan by selecting just seven of the Northampton starters versus Bordeaux to start again in Ireland amid the backdrop of a twelve-match losing streak.
Regular full-back George Furbank switches from full-back to out-half in place of Dan Biggar, who is said to have a knee injury. Tom Collins comes in at No15 while the three other backline changes see Ryan Olowofela, Fraser Dingwall and Tom James chosen instead of Ahsee Tuala, Matt Proctor and Alex Mitchell.
There are four changes to the pack. Skipper Alex Waller and Paul Hill come in at prop for Nick Auterac and Owen Franks, while Alex Moon and Api Ratuniyarawa take over at second row with Dave Ribbans rested and Nick Isiekwe switching to blindside instead of Courtney Lawes.
"While Irish rugby is giving considerable support to reducing New Zealand’s chronic unemployment problem, it is denying a generation of its own coaching community an opportunity." Matt Williams
— The XV (@TheXV) December 17, 2020
NORTHAMPTON (vs Leinster, Saturday)
15 Tom Collins
14 Ryan Olowofela
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Taqele Naiyaravoro
10 George Furbank
9 Tom James
1 Alex Waller (capt)
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Paul Hill
4 Alex Moon
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Nick Isiekwe
7 Tom Wood
8 Shaun Adendorff
16 Mikey Haywood
17 Francois van Wyk
18 Owen Franks
19 Alex Coles
20 Teimana Harrison
21 Henry Taylor
22 Piers Francis
23 Matt Proctor
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