Saints make one change for Exeter showdown

Saints have made just one change to their team to face Exeter Chiefs on Friday night, with Jamie Gibson replacing Tom Wood in the back row.

Thursday, 27th December 2018, 12:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:59 am
Jamie Gibson starts for Saints against Exeter (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Wood is among the replacements as his side bid to back up their 32-6 victory at Worcester Warriors last weekend.Saints shone at Sixways, securing a crucial Gallagher Premiership success that gives them some momentum going into the clash with the Chiefs.Rob Baxter's men beat title rivals Saracens at Sandy Park last Saturday and will be looking to extend their lead at the top at Franklin's Gardens tomorrow night.The game is set to be a sell-out with only single seats now remaining for the festive fixture.Saints remain without the services of Ken Pisi (shoulder), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), James Haskell (ankle), James Craig (concussion), Tom Emery (shoulder) and Mike Haywood (knee).But Andrew Kellaway is not included on the injury list as he has made a good recovery from a recent ankle problem.

Meanwhile, Exeter also stick with a largely unchanged side for Friday's game at the Gardens.

In the pack, England props Ben Moon and Harry Williams will pack down alongside Tongan hooker Elvis Taione, while Mitch Lees comes into the second row in place of Dave Dennis.

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Behind, Ollie Devoto gets the nod in the centre alongside Ian Whitten in the sole change to the back division.

On the bench, the Chiefs are boosted with the return to fitness of lock Jonny Hill and centre Henry Slade.

Saints: Tuala; Collins, Burrell, Francis, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (cc), Hartley (cc), Hill; Ribbans, Lawes; Gibson, Ludlam, Harrison.Replacements: Marshall, van Wyk, Franks, Ratuniyarawa, Brüssow, Mitchell, Dingwall.

Exeter Chiefs: Simmonds; Cordero, Whitten, Devoto, O'Flaherty; Steenson (c), Maunder; Moon, Taione, Williams; Lees, Skinner; Lonsdale, Armand, Kvesic.Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Hepburn, Francis, Hill, Lawday, White, Slade, Dollman.