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Northampton make four changes for semi-final with Leicester

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

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Northampton Saints DoR Chris Boyd has made four changes to his line-up for this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership semi-final against Leicester Tigers. He has given starts to Juarno Augustus, Courtnall Skosan, Emmanuel Iyogun and Ehren Painter.

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Northampton are in their tenth Premiership semi-final and their third against their East Midlands rivals. Both previous semi-final winners – at Leicester in 2011 and cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens in 2014, had home-field winners.

Boyd starts Dan Biggar in the No10 shirt for his 50th Premiership game with the same backline that scored ten tries against Newcastle Falcons last time out.

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Alex Mitchell, the competition’s most dangerous player with 24 try involvements (11 scores, 13 assists) so far this season, remains at scrum-half, while Rory Hutchinson, who was called up to Scotland’s summer squad this week, rejoins Fraser Dingwall in the Saints’ midfield.

Tommy Freeman, who had seven tries in his past five league outings, moves across to full-back to cover the injured George Furbank, allowing Courtnall Skosan to join Matt Proctor on the wings.

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In the pack, the Saints make three more changes with front row duo Iyogun and Painter supporting hooker Sam Matavesi on either side. “We have been in knockout mode for the last couple of months but whenever you get to this point in any competition, the stakes go up, the margins for error get smaller, and the space to execute your game plan disappears,” said Boyd.

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“So we will have less time for our skill execution, physicality and decision-making, but we have worked hard on getting a higher level of consistency in our performance and we are well prepared for the battle ahead of us.”

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
15 Tommy Freeman
14 Matt Proctor
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Courtnall Skosan
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell
1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Ehren Painter
4 Alex Coles
5 Api Ratuniyarawa
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

REPLACEMENTS:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Alex Waller
18 Oisín Heffernan
19 David Ribbans
20 Aaron Hinkley
21 Tom James
22 James Grayson
23 Piers Francis

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