Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish vs Northampton

15th November 2013 11:15

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Kieran Low London Irish

Kieran Low: At eight for the Exiles

Kieran Low will line up in London Irish's back row when they host Northampton Saints in Sunday's LV=Cup clash at the Madejski Stadium.

Matt Parr, Mike Mayhew and Jamie Hagan will again start in the front row with Ben Toolis and his twin brother Alex, who also joins on a short term loan from Edinburgh, partnering in the second row.

Declan Danaher and Bryn Evans will join Low in the back row.

The back-line consists of Darren Allinson at scrum-half and Shane Geraghty at fly-half. Setaimata Sa and Guy Armitage form the centre partnership with Andrew Fenby, Tom Fowlie and Alex Lewington in the back three.

Brian Smith, Exiles Director of Rugby said: "We have made a couple of changes to the squad from last week to freshen things up a little, but on the whole, several of the boys that played last week have a second chance to impress against a good Northampton side."

Meanwhile, the Saints have handed full debuts to Academy produced duo Alex Day and Ethan Waller. Scrum-half Day made a double try scoring debut from the bench in the bonus win over Gloucester, while Ethan will wear the number one shirt for the first time on his ninth appearance for the first team as one of six changes to the starting line-up from last weekend.

Tom Collins returns to the wing with Ken Pisi on Samoa duty, and Ethan is part of an all new front row, Ross McMillan and Salesi Ma'afu in from the off. Christian Day will also partner Rob Verbakel in the second row as the Saints go looking for a second win at the home of the Exiles in a fortnight after a 19-16 Premiership triumph earlier this month.

Among the replacements, Academy wing Josh Skelcey is a possible senior debutant, while Gareth Denman and Calum Clark also come into the matchday squad.

Dom Waldouck will once again skipper the side from the centres.

Form: London Irish have slipped to three straight defeats in all competitions, whilst their only win in their last four LV=Cup ties was 46-24 at home to Worcester in round 3 last season. The Exiles have won their last five LV=Cup games played at Madejski Stadium since the Scarlets were successful there in November 2010. Northampton Saints have won their last four fixtures since their 13-19 reversal at the hands of Castres in the European Cup on 12 October. The Saints have not beaten a fellow Premiership opponent on their own turf in the LV=Cup since a visit to Sale Sharks in January 2010. The two clubs only previous encounter in the LV=Cup came at Reading in January 2011 where the home side won 37-20. The Saints have won on three of their last four visits to Madejski Stadium in all competitions.

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Alex Lewington, 14 Tom Fowlie, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Setaimata Sa, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Shane Geraghty (c), 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Kieran Low, 7 Bryn Evans, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Alex Toolis, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Mike Mayhew, 1 Matt Parr.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Johnny Harris, 18 Leo Halavatau; 19 Ben Lonergan, 20 Danny Kenny, 21 Fergus Mulchrone, 22 Myles Dorrian, 23 Tom Bliss

Northampton: 15 James Wilson, 14 Howard PAackman, 13 Tom Stephenson, 12 Dom Waldouck (c), 11 Tom Collins, 10 Glenn Dickson, 9 Alex Day, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Ben Nutley, 5 Christian Day, 4 Rob Verbakel, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Ross McMillan, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Matt Williams, 17 Gareth Denman, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Alex Woolford, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Josh Skelcey.

Date: Sunday, November 17
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: Rhys Thomas (Wales)
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle (England), Roy Maybank (England)
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw (England)
Assessor: Paul Bridgman (England)

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