Rare start for Painter as Saints ring the changes for Premiership semi-final showdown

Ehren Painter
Ehren Painter

Ehren Painter will play his first league match since February when Saints square up to Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership play-off semi-final at Sandy Park on Saturday (kick-off 4.30pm).

Painter is part of a fresh front row, with Saints making a total of four changes to the team that lost 40-21 at Exeter last Saturday.

Francois van Wyk comes in for Alex Waller at loosehead, while James Fish replaces the injured Reece Marshall at hooker.

The other change sees Api Ratuniyarawa return in the second row, with Courtney Lawes shifted to six and Jamie Gibson dropping to the bench.

Teimana Harrison will captain the team from No.8.

Coventry loanee Darren Dawidiuk provides hooker cover from the bench.

Saints are without injury victims Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), Mike Haywood (knee), Paddy Ryan (knee), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), James Haskell (toe), George Furbank (concussion) and Marshall (hamstring).

Saints: Tuala; Collins, Hutchinson, Francis, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Reinach; van Wyk, Fish, Painter; Moon, Ratuniyarawa; Lawes, Ludlam, Harrison (c). Replacements: Dawidiuk, Waller, Hill, Ribbans, Gibson, Wood, Mitchell, Burrell.