Ribbans starts as Saints shuffle their pack for Wasps showdown

David Ribbans made his return to action last Saturday
David Ribbans made his return to action last Saturday

David Ribbans starts for the first time since November as Saints travel to the Ricoh Arena to face Wasps on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

Ribbans lines up alongside Alex Moon in the second row with Courtney Lawes switching to six.

Tom Wood moves to seven, with Lewis Ludlam given a breather as he is named on the bench.

There are two further personnel changes in the pack, with Alex Waller and Paul Hill replacing Francois van Wyk and Ehren Painter.

Painter is not in the matchday squad as Owen Franks has been named as the tighthead replacement.

Taqele Naiyaravoro is given a slight rest as he drops to the bench, with Ahsee Tuala coming in on the wing.

Dan Biggar and Cobus Reinach have shrugged off a physical affair against Gloucester last weekend and will team up at half-back once again.

The Saints bench looks extremely strong, with Franks, Ludlam and Naiyaravoro joined by the likes of Henry Taylor and Matt Proctor, who has recovered from concussion.

Only Alex Mitchell (knee) and Jamie Gibson (ankle) are now on the long-term injury list.

For Wasps, Academy graduate Tom West will make his first Premiership start this weekend.

The 23-year-old loosehead-prop is the only change to the starting line-up as Wasps look to back up last weekend’s bonus-point 26-21 win over Bristol Bears.

West deputises for the injured Ben Harris, who misses out with a shoulder injury, adding to Wasps’ injury woes in the number-one position with Zurabi Zhvania (knee) and Simon McIntyre (concussion) also out.

Back-row Nizaam Carr, who was the hero last week when he raced over to earn Wasps the win at Bristol, is set to start again at number-eight for his 50th club appearance.

Despite some illness across the squad, Thibaud Flament has recovered to be named among the replacements, while Jack Owlett and Jeff Toomaga-Allen are named as loosehead and tighthead replacements respectively.

Wasps: Minozzi; Kibirige, Fekitoa, Le Bourgeois, Watson; Umaga, Robson; West, Taylor, Brookes; Launchbury (c); Matthews; Willis, Young, Carr.
Replacements: Cruse, Owlett, Toomaga-Allen, Flament, Vailanu, Porter, Gopperth, de Jongh.

Saints: Furbank; Tuala, Hutchinson, Francis, Collins; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (cc), Haywood, Hill; Moon, Ribbans; Lawes, Wood, Harrison (cc).
Replacements: Matavesi, van Wyk, O Franks, Ratuniyarawa, Ludlam, Taylor, Proctor, Naiyaravoro.