Preview: Northampton v Sale

Date published: October 10 2014

Northampton have benched George North for Saturday’s clash with Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens, replacing him with Jamie Elliott.

Northampton have benched George North for their Premiership clash with Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens, replacing him with Jamie Elliott.

After making his return to action in last Monday’s Aviva ‘A’ League game against Bristol, Elliott comes onto the left wing in place of North.

Another notable returnee is Tom Wood, who captains the team from the back-row. And with Mike Haywood retaining his place in the starting front-row Dylan Hartley is named on the bench, along with Christian Day and Calum Clark.

Meanwhile, Sale have made one change to their side as Josh Beaumont comes in for Jonathan Mills alongside second-row Michael Paterson.

There is also an alteration on the bench as Mark Cueto drops out and is replaced by Andy Forsyth.

Form: Sale have not been triumphant on the Saints’ home soil since May 2006, including a 33-14 defeat last season that saw George North score his first Aviva Premiership Rugby try. The Sharks got their revenge with an impressive 19-6 victory over Saints at the AJ Bell Stadium in March but have not won successive fixtures since following up that win with victory against Bath Rugby. Steve Diamond’s side have the chance to right that record after they clinched their second win of the season with a hard-fought 25-14 triumph over Wasps last weekend. Jim Mallinder’s side were defeated by Wasps in round two but have not lost at home since Leicester Tigers triumphed at Franklin’s Gardens in March.

The teams:

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

Sale: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Tom Arscott, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Magnus Lund, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Josh Beaumont, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Viliami Fihaki, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Andy Forsyth.

Date: Saturday, October 11
Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kickoff: 15:15 local (14:15 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell & Roger Baileff
TMO: Keith Lewis