Northampton Saints v London Irish: Full team news for the Premiership Rugby Cup opener

Alex Coles will captain Saints for the first time on Saturday as the black, green and gold face London Irish in the opening round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:03 pm
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:04 pm
Alex Coles

Boss Chris Boyd has named a young side to take on the Exiles at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 3.30pm).

Senior Academy trio George Hendy, Ethan Grayson and Kayde Sylvester are all set to make their debuts in the starting 15.

Conor Carey, Tom Lockett and Geordie Irvine could all come off the bench to earn their first Saints appearances.

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Coles starts at flanker for the hosts, with Sylvester also named in the back row for his first Saints run-out.

Karl Wilkins continues in the No.8 jersey after making his debut against Sale Sharks last weekend.

Alex Moon and Brandon Nansen are selected in the Saints engine room, while Emmanuel Iyogun, Mike Haywood and Karl Garside complete the pack in the front row.

Tom James and James Grayson start together in the half-back berths for the second week running, while centres Rory Hutchinson and Tom Litchfield form a new partnership in Saints’ midfield.

A back three of Hendy, Ethan Grayson and Josh Gillespie round off the youthful starting 15 for Saints, with an average age of just 23 across the hosts’ matchday squad this weekend.

And while Carey, Lockett and Irvine could all make their debuts from the bench, Reece Marshall and Ollie Newman are both primed to make their first appearances of the 2021/22 season as they are also named amongst the replacements.

Saints: Hendy; Gillespie, Litchfield, Hutchinson, E Grayson; J Grayson, James; Iyogun, Haywood, K Garside; Moon, Nansen; Coles (c), Sylvester, Wilkins.

Replacements: Marshall, Auterac, Carey, Lockett, Irvine, Newman, Tupai, Collins.

London Irish: Stokes; Rowe, van Rensburg, Williams, Redmond; Jennings, O’Sullivan; Dell, Cornish, Parker; Nott, Munga; Cooke (c), Curtis-Harris, Cracknell.

Replacements: Willemse, Dever, Green, Mafi, Moore-Aiono, Englefield, Atkins, Cokanasiga.