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Northampton Saints boast all English XV

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints will field an all English XV when they take on Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.


Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has made seven changes from the team that lost to Harlequins last week to make the all English ensemble. Twelve of the starting XV are also products of the Saints Academy.

Boyd would of course like the option of fielding Kiwi Owen Franks, who is carrying a foot injury, or Welshman Dan Biggar, who is on international duty, but this is an impressive achievement. By contrast, Sale will line up with only five Englishman in their starting XV.

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One player who comes into the starting XV after being on the bench last week is second row Alex Moon, who will be making his 50th appearance for the club. The 24-year-old swaps with Api Ratuniyarawa, who will start on the bench.

Another noticeable inclusion is No8 Teimana Harrison, who returns following a long-term hand injury. He completes a back row of England internationals with Tom Wood and Lewis Ludlam, who captains the side. The other two capped internationals in the side are George Furbank and Piers Francis.

The Saints currently sit in fifth place in the Gallagher Premiership, one place and five points behind tomorrow’s opponents. A handsome win would see Northampton leapfrog the Sharks into the top four, but a loss could equally see them plummet to ninth in the table should other results not go their way.

Both sides go into the match having won three of their last five games (not including the Saints’ cancelled fixture against Newcastle Falcons, in which they were awarded four points).


15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Piers Francis
11 Ollie Sleightholme
10 James Grayson
9 Tom James
1 Alex Waller (c)
2 Reece Marshall
3 Ehren Painter
4 Alex Moon
5 Alex Coles
6 Tom Wood
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Teimana Harrison

16 Mike Haywood
17 Nick Auterac
18 Paul Hill
19 Api Ratuniyarawa
20 JJ Tonks
21 Henry Taylor
22 Rory Hutchinson
23 Harry Mallinder


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