Marshall makes first Premiership start in Saracens clash

Saints have named a youthful squad to face Saracens on Saturday, with Reece Marshall, Tom Collins, Alex Mitchell and Ehren Painter among the players named in the 23.

Friday, 6th April 2018, 1:20 pm
Updated Friday, 6th April 2018, 1:26 pm
Reece Marshall (left) and Cobus Reinach (right) start for Saints against Saracens (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Hooker Marshall will make his first Aviva Premiership start for the club, with Mike Haywood and Dylan Hartley both unavailable.

Charlie Clare, who is joining Bedford Blues this summer, will be the back-up hooker.

Collins, who scored a hat-trick in the Wanderers' 75-26 win against Wasps A on Monday night, and Mitchell, who bagged a brace in that game, are among the replacements.

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Tighthead prop Painter, who has recently been in action for the England Under-20s, will also be on the bench, providing cover for starter Kieran Brookes.

Cobus Reinach comes in at scrum-half, with compatriot Nic Groom having left Saints for Super Rugby side the Lions earlier this week.

Christian Day will captain the black, green and gold from the second row.

There is a lengthy injury list for the home side, with Hartley, Haywood, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Harry Mallinder and Heinrich Brüssow all unavailable.

Alex Waller and Luther Burrell were available for selection but with the pair having been sidelined for some time, the game comes a little too soon.

Both men could get some game time for the Wanderers at Newcastle on Monday night.

Meanwhile, Saracens, who were beaten by Leinster in a Champions Cup quarter-final in Dublin last Sunday, make a total of five changes.

Blair Cowan comes in for his first start while Schalk Brits begins at hooker – the only two amendments in the pack from last weekend’s defeat.

In the backs, Chris Wyles is restored to the wing with Sean Maitland swapping to the right and Liam Williams slotting in at full-back.

Ben Spencer begins at scrum-half and Alex Lozowski has been given the nod at outside centre.

Scotland international Duncan Taylor features in the Sarries 23 for the first time since the game at Wasps in January.

Saints: Tuala; Tuitavake, Horne, Francis, North; Myler, Reinach; Ma'afu, Marshall, Brookes; Ratuniyarawa, Day (c); Ribbans, Gibson, Harrison.

Replacements: Clare, van Wyk, Painter, Paterson, Nutley, Mitchell, Collins, Foden.

Saracens: Williams; Maitland, Lozowski, Barritt, Wyles; Farrell, Spencer; M Vunipola, Brits, Figallo; Itoje, Kruis; Isiekwe, Cowan, Wray.

Replacements: George, Barrington, Longbottom, Day, Burger, Wigglesworth, Taylor, Earle.