Planet Rugby

Preview: Northampton v Worcester

14th February 2014 07:47

Share:

Lee Dickson v Worcester

Starting for Saints: Lee Dickson

Northampton Saints have made four changes to their strating XV for Saturday's Premiership clash with Worcester Warriors at Franklin's Gardens.

For the Saints it is an opportunity to consolidate their place at the top of the league table, while Worcester will be looking to build on last Friday's promising performance against Leicester in their fight against relegation.

The Saints extended their winning run to nine matches in all competitions with George Pisi's late try at Sandy Park last Saturday evening, but there are three changes to the team which started against Exeter.

Lee Dickson returns from England duty to partner Stephen Myler at half-back, with Kahn Fotuali'i dropping to the bench. Elsewhere Dom Waldouck and Christian Day have picked up leg injuries which have ruled them out of Saturday's game.

Waldouck is replaced by Tom Stephenson, who has scored two tries in his opening two outings for England U20 in the 2014 Six Nations. Day's absence sees Sam Dickinson move up into the second row, with GJ Van Velze starting at Number eight. Teimana Harrison takes Van Velze's place on the bench.

Meanwhile, Dean Schofield and Leonardo Senatore return to the Warriors starting line-up.

Schofield comes in at lock while Senatore is named at flanker as Director of Rugby Dean Ryan makes just two changes to the side which almost defeated Leicester Tigers last Friday.

The front-row sees Ofa Fainga'anuku, Agustin Creevy and John Andress keep their places whilst the backline also remains unchanged.

Jonny Arr and Ravai Fatiaki, who have both signed new contracts at Warriors today, will start at scrum-half and centre respectively.

The replacements see Chris Brooker, Richard de Carpentier and Dean Hammond all return to the squad.

"The short-term aim for us is to get this group at its best and see if we can compete because we're desperate to fight the challenge of relegation," said Ryan.

"We did a pretty good job against Northampton for 65 minutes when they came to Sixways earlier this season.

"Since then we've proved that as a group we are able to last longer and hopefully we can make things difficult.

"A lot of people did themselves a lot of credit against Leicester last week so they deserve to roll again.

"Saints have huge resources. They've got academy players that step up to Premiership level when players are away on international duty."

Form: Dean Ryan's troops are still searching for their first win of the league season with 13 fixtures now played and head to Franklin's Gardens this Saturday to take on a Saints side that are on fire. The Saints have won their last nine contests in all tournaments and have not been defeated at home in the Premiership since Leicester were the visitors on 20 March 2013. The Warriors meanwhile have lost their last 22 away games in the Premiership equalling Rotherham's all time record from 2000 to 2004 but the stats mean nothing to Wallaby prop Ma'afu ahead of the clash.

The teams:

Northampton: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Gj van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson (c), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Sam Dickinson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Ben Nutley, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Fa'atoina Auagavaia

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (C), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Leonardo Senatore, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Dean Schofield, 3 John Andress, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 George Porter, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 James Percival, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Dean Hammond.

Date: Saturday, February 15
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Andy Watson
Television match official: Trevor Fisher

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs Crusaders19:40
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00