Northampton have named loosehead prop loan signing Alex Seville on the bench for Sunday’s Champions Cup quarter-final at Exeter, who have recalled Sturt Hogg. Four other looseheads were injured and tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby allowed Saints an emergency recruit, with 19-year-old Manny Iyogun starting.
The game, which is Courtney Lawes’ 50th in Europe, has seen Chris Boyd opt for a six-two split on the bench with the likes of Nick Isiekwe, Shaun Adendorff, Alex Mitchell, and Taqele Naiyaravoro hoping to make an impact.
Exeter, meanwhile, are boosted by the recover of full-back Hogg after he limped out of Chiefs’ league game against Gloucester nine days ago. Chiefs boss Rob Baxter said: “All week we have talked about how we have to prepare to face the very best Northampton side, because there is no reason, especially when you look at their squad, that they can’t make something happen on the day.
“We’re well prepared and the form we have shown in the Premiership and in Europe indicate that but, at the end of the day, this weekend it still comes down to knockout rugby.
“In our last European quarter-final [against Wasps], we played exceptionally well on the day – and we came up as close as you’re ever going to get to winning a game, only to concede a conversion in the last seconds of the game. Right now, we’re getting there. We’ve got a fit squad, we’re in decent form, training has gone well but, in the back of your mind, it’s still a one-off game.”
EXETER: 15. Stuart Hogg; 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ian Whitten, 11. Tom O’Flaherty; 10. Joe Simmonds (capt), 9. Jack Maunder; 1. Alec Hepburn, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Harry Williams, 4. Jonny Gray, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 8. Sam Simmonds. Reps: 16. Jack Yeandle, 17. Ben Moon, 18. Tom Francis, 19. Sam Skinner, 20. Jannes Kirsten, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Gareth Steenson, 23. Ollie Devoto.
NORTHAMPTON: 15. George Furbank; 14. Matt Proctor, 13. Fraser Dingwall, 12. Rory Hutchinson, 11. Ahsee Tuala; 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Henry Taylor; Manny Iyogun, 2. Mikey Haywood, 3. Owen Franks, 4. David Ribbans, 5. Api Ratuniyarawa, 6. Courtney Lawes, 7. Lewis Ludlam, 8. Teimana Harrison (capt). Reps: 16. James Fish, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Paul Hill, 19. Alex Moon, 20. Nick Isiekwe, 21. Shaun Adendorff, 22. Alex Mitchell, 23. Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Struggling for form on the domestic scene, could @SaintsRugby bounce back in Europe? ?
Relive their best scores of the season so far ? pic.twitter.com/fO555FilPA
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) September 17, 2020
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