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Preview: Northampton v Exeter

07th October 2011 12:43

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SKY_MOBILE ryan lamb northampton

Ryan Lamb: In at ten

Youngster James Craig will make his first start for Northampton as the Saints look to end a frustrating spell against Exeter on Saturday.

Northampton have won just one of their opening five encounters as they struggle to adjust to life without a number of star players who are on international duty.

Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder believes his team should have at least two more wins to their name.

"It's frustrating that we're not playing well and not finishing," said Mallinder.

"You get opportunities in games and you've got to be good enough to take them. Last week we didn't do that.

"There are parts of the game that are working well. We've got a good set-piece and our defence was a lot better last week. But we've been working on the little things we need to improve in our attacking play this week, and if we put those into practice on Saturday then we'll play well."

Mallinder has made two changes to the team that lost to Worcester last time out.

The 22-year-old Craig comes in on the openside in place of Ben Nutley who drops out of the matchday 22.

At the crucial fly-half berth, Ryan Lamb replaces Stephen Myler with Myler forced to settle for a place on the bench.

The Chiefs too have a player making his first Premiership start for the club, with Ben Moon replacing Brett Sturgess at prop. Hooker Neil Clark slots in next to Moon in place of Chris Whitehead who is not part of the squad this weekend.

On the wing, Josh Tatupu returns from injury to replace Nic Sestaret.

While Saints may be struggling at present, Exeter assistant coach Ali Hepher knows that they remain a potent side.

"It's a test for any side going there," said Hepher.

"They are a tough team to beat and we are fully expecting a battle up there. They could easily have won four out of five games, so they will be as tough a battle as they'll ever be and they'll be looking to put in a big performance before their World Cup guys come back.

"They have massive threats across the board and going there is as tough as it comes. At home I know the Saints look to raise it to another level, so we have to go up there with our game plan and put in a level of performance to get something out of the game."

Northampton:15 Greig Tonks, 14 Paul Diggin, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Scott Armstrong, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 James Craig, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Paul Doran Jones.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom May.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Josh Tatupu, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Tom Hayes (capt), 3 John Andress, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Hoani Tui, 19 James Phillips, 20 Ben White, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Bryan Rennie.

Date: Saturday, October 8
Kick-off: 14:30 (13:30 GMT)
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Referee: Greg Garner

  • Exeter Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 29
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Saturday , December 20
Sale vs Exeter14:00
Saturday , December 27
Bath vs Exeter15:00
Saturday , January 3
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Sunday , January 11
London Irish vs Exeter15:00
Saturday , February 14
Exeter vs Newcastle15:00
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LV= Cup
Saturday , January 31
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter15:00
Saturday , February 7
Saracens vs Exeter15:00
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , December 13
Exeter vs La Rochelle15:00
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  • Exeter Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
Friday , November 14
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
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LV= Cup
Saturday , November 8
Exeter 18 - 6 BathExeter vs Bath Report
Saturday , November 1
Exeter 28 - 27 Gloucester
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Saturday , October 18
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , October 11
Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish
Sunday , October 5
Newcastle 29 - 24 Exeter
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  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821