Biggar and Lawes return to Saints’ matchday squad for Irish clash

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Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has made four changes to Northampton Saints’ starting XV for this weekend’s home Gallagher Premiership clash against London Irish.

British & Irish Lions Dan Biggar and Courtney Lawes return to the matchday squad for the men in Black, Green and Gold for the first time this season – Biggar starts at fly-half for Saints, with Lawes primed to make an impact off the bench in front of a raucous cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens crowd.

Saints will be looking to extend a superb recent record against the Exiles having won 11 of the last 13 meeting between the sides in the Premiership, with London Irish winning just once in Northampton since 2011.

Lewis Ludlam will lead out the hosts, and the England flanker is joined once again in the back row by the evergreen Tom Wood – although Boyd does make a change at No.8 as Juarno Augustus starts a Premiership match for the first time.

There are also changes in the front row as props Nick Auterac and Paul Hill come in to pack down either side of hooker Sam Matavesi, but Saints’ engine room is unchanged from last weekend’s win over Exeter with David Ribbans and Api Ratuniyarawa starting together again.

Biggar is the headline inclusion in Northampton’s backline, and the only change outside the pack to the side which came from behind to beat Chiefs 26-24 at Sandy Park.

Alex Mitchell joins the 92-time Wales international in the half-back berths, with Fraser Dingwall and Matt Proctor – who scored his first Saints try since November 2019 last time out – selected in the hosts’ midfield.

George Furbank continues at fullback as Tom Collins and Ollie Sleightholme complete an unchanged back three for Northampton, who are aiming to win their first three matches of a Premiership season for only the fourth time (2010/11, 2012/13 and 2019/20).

Lawes is included amongst Saints’ replacements for his first involvement of the season in Black, Green and Gold, while the likes of Alex Waller, Ehren Painter, Alex Coles and Teimana Harrison will also look to add some ballast off the bench.


Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3

Saturday 2 October 2021

cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens

Kick-off: 2pm

15 George Furbank

14 Ollie Sleightholme

13 Matt Proctor

12 Fraser Dingwall

11 Tom Collins

10 Dan Biggar

9 Alex Mitchell

1 Nick Auterac

2 Sam Matavesi

3 Paul Hill

4 David Ribbans

5 Api Ratuniyarawa

6 Tom Wood

7 Lewis Ludlam (capt)

8 Juarno Augustus


16 James Fish

17 Alex Waller

18 Ehren Painter

19 Alex Coles

20 Courtney Lawes

21 Teimana Harrison

22 Frank Lomani

23 Tommy Freeman

Not considered for selection:

Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, Piers Francis, Oisín Heffernan, Dani Long-Martinez, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Ollie Newman, and JJ Tonks.

Referee: Tom Foley

Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes and Paul Dix

No.4: Michael Woods

TMO: David Rose