Sleightholme and Matavesi return as Saints visit Exeter Chiefs

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Ollie Sleightholme and Sam Matavesi both return to Northampton Saints’ line-up this weekend, with Director of Rugby Chris Boyd today naming his side to face Exeter Chiefs.

The men in Black, Green and Gold head to Devon off the back of an opening 34-20 victory over Gloucester to take on last season’s Gallagher Premiership finalists.

Saints will be prepared for a tough test in the West Country; since Northampton won at Sandy Park back in February, the Chiefs have won their last seven home games in the league – but with the last three league matchups between the sides ending with a margin of three points or fewer, supporters can look forward to another nail-biting encounter on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm).

Fit-again Sleightholme is selected on the wing for the visitors, with the 21-year-old speedster celebrating a call-up into England’s 45-man training squad earlier this week. He is joined in the back three by Tom Collins and fullback George Furbank, another of four Saints picked out by the Red Rose.

With Rory Hutchinson out injured, Matt Proctor switches to outside centre and Fraser Dingwall moves inside into the No.12 jersey, but Boyd keeps last weekend’s half-back pairing of James Grayson and Alex Mitchell together for the trip to Exeter.

Fiji international hooker Matavesi makes his return to Northampton’s front row, packing down alongside props Alex Waller and Ehren Painter, with locks David Ribbans and Api Ratuniyarawa just behind them in the engine room.

Northampton opt to stick with the winning formula in the back row, as flankers Tom Wood and Lewis Ludlam, and No.8 Teimana Harrison, are selected to start together again this week.

The headline inclusion on Saints’ bench sees Fiji scrum-half Frank Lomani poised to make his Northampton debut, with Tommy Freeman also returning from injury and Juarno Augustus looking to build on an impressive first competitive outing in Black, Green and Gold last weekend.


Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 2

Saturday 25 September 2021

Sandy Park

Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank

14 Ollie Sleightholme

13 Matt Proctor

12 Fraser Dingwall

11 Tom Collins

10 James Grayson

9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller

2 Sam Matavesi

3 Ehren Painter

4 David Ribbans

5 Api Ratuniyarawa

6 Tom Wood

7 Lewis Ludlam (c)

8 Teimana Harrison


16 James Fish

17 Nick Auterac

18 Paul Hill

19 Alex Moon

20 Juarno Augustus

21 Frank Lomani

22 Tom Litchfield

23 Tommy Freeman

Not considered for selection:

Matthew Arden, Dan Biggar, Callum Burns, Alex Coles, Piers Francis, Rory Hutchinson, Courtney Lawes, Tom Lockett, Reece Marshall, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Ollie Newman, and JJ Tonks.

Referee: Christophe Ridley

Assistant referees: George Selwood and Wayne Falla

No.4: Phil Watters

TMO: Rowan Kitt