Naiyaravoro returns as Saints take on Newcastle

Taqele Naiyaravoro starts for Saints against Newcastle (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Taqele Naiyaravoro starts for Saints against Newcastle (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Taqele Naiyaravoro returns as Saints take on Newcastle Falcons in Saturday's Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 12.15pm).

Naiyaravoro was given a rest for the recent wins against Timisoara Saracens and Leicester Tigers, but he is back on the wing against the Falcons.

Ahsee Tuala lines up in the other wide berth, with George Furbank keeping his place at full-back in a team that shows six changes from the success against Tigers.

Luther Burrell and Rory Hutchinson form the centre pairing, with James Grayson and Cobus Reinach, who will hit a half-century of Saints appearances, again linking up at half-back.

Teimana Harrison keeps hold of the captaincy after a successful game as skipper against Leicester, who were beaten 47-20 at the Gardens two weeks ago.

Alex Waller will make his 250th Saints appearance when he emerges from the bench.

For Newcastle, captain Will Welch returns in a side showing seven changes from the one which won 28-12 at Sale Sharks last Sunday.

Fijian international Nemani Nagusa joins Welch in the back row, while Calum Green joins the second row.

David Wilson starts at tighthead prop in a team which sees Brett Connon paired with Sonatane Takulua in the half-backs.

Vereniki Goneva starts on the wing after scoring in his first involvement from the bench last weekend.

Zach Kibirige continues on the other wing as he aims to add to a personal tally of four tries in two Premiership Rugby Cup games this season.

Saints: Furbank; Tuala, Hutchinson, Burrell, Naiyaravoro; Grayson, Reinach; van Wyk, Fish, Painter; Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa; Gibson, Ludlam, Harrison (c).
Replacements: Marshall, Waller, Hill, Moon, Wood, Brüssow, Mitchell, Collins.

Newcastle Falcons: Arscott; Kibirige, Dunbar, Matavesi, Goneva; Connon, Takulua; Davison, Socino, Wilson; Green, Davidson; Welch (captain), Chick, Nagusa.
Replacements: Cooper, Brocklebank, Mulipola, Cavubati, Uzokwe, Stuart, Harris, Sinoti.