Preview: Northampton v London Welsh

Date published: May 8 2015

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Northampton have made three changes to their starting lineup for Saturday's fixture against London Welsh.

With two rounds to play the Saints have already booked a semi-final spot. But with a home tie still to play for the same 23 players have been included in the match day squad from that which overcame Saracens at stadiummk a fortnight ago.

Lee Dickson, Alex Waller and Gareth Denman come in for Kahn Fotuali’i, Alex Corbisiero and Salesi Ma’afu respectively.

Meanwhile, Welsh captain Tom May will make his 246th Premiership appearance and in doing so move third in his own right in the Premiership's all-time appearance list. May moves clear of Hugh Vyvyan, who made 245 appearances. Steve Borthwick leads the way on 265, with George Chuter second on 262.

In the backs, Seb Jewell returns to the side at full back, having missed the games against Wasps and Leicester Tigers. Alan Awcock moves to right wing. Tom May replaces the injured James Lewis at inside centre. There's also a change at scrum half with Paul Rowley starting and Rob Lewis named among the replacements.

In the forwards, Daniel Browne replaces Ben Pienaar at blindside flanker and Opeti Fonu comes in for the suspended Chris Hala'ufia. The London Welsh starting XV contains 11 players committed to the club for next season's Championship campaign, along with seven of the replacements.

Form: One more victory for the Saints will ensure a home semi-final spot for the second successive year, having now reached the play-offs for the past six seasons. And they go into the clash at Franklin's Gardens having suffered only one defeat in their last seven Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures – against Exeter Chiefs in round 19. Northampton have won their last seven competitive fixtures against London Welsh since the Exiles were last successful way back in 1988.

The teams:

Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Gareth Denman, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Salesi Ma'afu, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Tom Stephenson, 23 James Wilson

London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell, 14 Alan Awcock, 13 Nic Reynolds, 12 Tom May (c), 11 Chris Elder, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Paul Rowley, 8 Opeti Fonua, 7 Darren Waters, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Ben West, 3 Ben Cooper, 2 Koree Britton, 1 Nathan Trevett
Replacements: 16 Nathan Morris, 17 Eddie Aholelei, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 James Down, 20 Josh McNally, 21 Jesse Liston, 22 Rob Lewis, 23 Will Robinson

Date: Saturday, May 9
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small 
Assistant Referees: Wayne Falls, Steve Lee
TMO: Stuart Terheege

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