Preview: Harlequins v Northampton

Date published: February 5 2016

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Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea has made four changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with Northampton at the Stoop.

Matt Hopper starts at outside centre in the only change to the back-line.

Among the forwards, Kyle Sinckler and George Merrick will start as Nick Easter returns at number eight.

Among the replacements, Calum Waters will look to make his senior debut for the club.

Meanwhile, Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder has made six changes to his run-on side from last weekend.

Ben Foden returns at full-back and Ken Pisi also comes into the back three.

That means Harry Mallinder wears 12, Luther Burrell stepping outside him in the centres, while Lee Dickson is back to captain the side.

In the pack, a new second row comprises James Craig and Christian Day, and Jamie Gibson re-joins the back row at the Stoop.

Form: Harlequins were defeated 19-26 at Newcastle on Sunday and have not suffered consecutive losses in Aviva Premiership Rugby since the end of last season. The Londoners are unbeaten in any competition at home this campaign, with their most recent reversal at Twickenham Stoop being by a single point to Bath in round 21 last season. Northampton Saints solitary victory in the last four rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 8-3 at home to Exeter on New Year’s Day. Saints won their most recent away fixture – at Scarlets in the Champions Cup, but have been victorious just once on the road in Premiership Rugby since last February: 13-11 at Bath on 5th December. Northampton have won their last five fixtures against Harlequins in all tournaments since Quins 22-19 victory in Premiership Rugby at Twickenham Stoop in May 2013.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans (c), 9  Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Mat Luamanu, 5 James Horwill, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert. 
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Dave Ward, 21 Calum Waters, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Tim Swiel 

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller. 
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 James Wilson

 

Date: Saturday, February 6
Venue: The Stoop
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff, Roy Maybank
TMO: Rowan Kitt

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