Three summer signings start for Saints at Gloucester

Dan Biggar will make his competitive debut for Saints (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dan Biggar will make his competitive debut for Saints (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints will hand competitive debuts to Ben Franks, James Haskell and Dan Biggar in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership opener at Gloucester (kick-off 2pm).

The trio switched to Northampton during the summer and have played a full part in a successful pre-season that saw Saints win all three of their games.

Biggar was forced off after failing a head injury assessment against Glasgow Warriors last Friday, but he has shown no concussion symptoms since and has completed his return-to-play protocol.

The Wales star forms an exciting half-back partnership with South African scrum-half Cobus Reinach at Kingsholm.

Hooker James Fish has impressed during pre-season, scoring six tries in three games, and he has kept the shirt, making his first Premiership start for Saints.

Alex Waller skippers the side with co-captain Dylan Hartley among the replacements after coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes against Glasgow.

James Fish keeps his place at hooker

James Fish keeps his place at hooker

There is no place in the matchday 23 for flanker Jamie Gibson and Harry Mallinder will also sit out the game after only returning to action last week.

Taqele Naiyaravoro only arrived in Northampton this week so he will not be involved, while fellow new signings Dom Barrow, Charlie Davies and Andrew Kellaway are set to play for the Wanderers against Leicester Tigers at Loughborough on Monday night.

Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee) and Tom Wood (groin) are among those sidelined due to injury.

Meanwhile, Gloucester are able to call on a strong starting 15 that includes summer signings such as Danny Cipriani and Matt Banahan.

James Haskell will be in the Saints back row

James Haskell will be in the Saints back row

Gloucester: Woodward; Sharples, Trinder, Twelvetrees, Banahan; Cipriani, Braley; Rapava-Ruskin, Hanson, Balmain; Slater (c), Galaraza; Ackermann, Ludlow, Morgan.

Replacements: Marais, Hohneck, Knight, Clarke, Polledri, Vellacott, Hudson, Williams.

Saints: Tuala: Tuitavake, Burrell, Francis, Collins; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (c), Fish, Franks; Ribbans, Lawes; Haskell, Brüssow, Harrison.

Replacements: Hartley, van Wyk, Painter, Ratuniyarawa, Ludlam, Mitchell, Grayson, Pisi.