100-up for Harrison as Saints make five changes for Bath trip
Teimana Harrison will make his 100th Saints appearance in Friday night's Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final at Bath (ko 7.45pm).
There are five changes to the team that was beaten by Sale Sharks at home in the Aviva Premiership last weekend, with Ben Foden skippering the team at the Rec.
Saints start with a new-look half-back partnership at Bath, with Cobus Reinach back in the side at scrum-half and Stephen Myler outside him.
Piers Francis is shifted to inside centre in place of the injured Luther Burrell, with the rest of Saints’ back-line unchanged from last week.
Foden is named on the wing, with Nafi Tuitavake and Ahsee Tuala making up the rest of the back three.
here is one change to Saints’ front row with Reece Marshall making his fourth start of the season at hooker as Mike Haywood is rested, but props Campese Ma’afu and Kieran Brookes are unchanged.
David Ribbans has recovered from a shoulder knock to return alongside Api Ratuniyarawa in the second row, while Jamie Gibson starts at flanker in place of the injured Tom Wood and alongside centurion Harrison.
Charlie Clare, Ben Nutley, and Tom Stephenson all go into the 23 to take their place amongst the replacements and Nic Groom is poised to make his 50th Saints appearance off the bench.
Saints are hoping to book their spot in next weekend’s final at Kingsholm, and if they do it will their fourth in eight seasons.
Interim Saints coach Alan Dickens is desperate to see the team win and set up that trophy chance.
“We want to perform in every game, but winning silverware this season is a huge aim for us now and this week is a big opportunity,” said Dickens.
“We’re under no illusions that this will be a tough game this Friday – it’s a semi-final away from home – but we’ve got to go there and put in a performance.”
Saints team v Bath, March 9, ko 7.45pm: Ahsee Tuala; Nafi Tuitavake, Rob Horne, Piers Francis, Ben Foden; Stephen Myler, Cobus Reinach; Campese Ma’afu, Reece Marshall, Kieran Brookes, Api Ratuniyarawa, David Ribbans, Jamie Gibson, Heinrich Brüssow, Teimana Harrison. Replacements: Charlie Clare, Francois van Wyk, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Michael Paterson, Ben Nutley, Nic Groom, Tom Stephenson, Ken Pisi
Bath team: Tom Homer; Darren Atkins, Will Hurrell, James Wilson, Cooper Vuna; Josh Lewis, Chris Cook; Beno Obano, Nathan Charles, Max Lahiff, Levi Douglas, Charlie Ewels, Tom Ellis, Josh Bayliss, James Phillips. Replacements: Michael van Vuuren, Nathan Catt, Henry Thomas, Elliott Stooke, Paul Grant, Kahn Fotuali’i, Aled Brew, Matt Banahan