New prop van Wyk starts as Saints face Nottingham

Jim Mallinder has named a team that includes a mix of youth and experience (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jim Mallinder has named a team that includes a mix of youth and experience (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Prop Francois van Wyk will make his first Franklin’s Gardens appearance in Thursday’s pre-season clash with Championship outfit Nottingham (kick-off 7.30pm).

Van Wyk moved to Saints from Super Rugby side Western Force this summer and will compete with Alex Waller and Campese Ma’afu for the loosehead starting spot.

He will get his chance to stake his claim against Nottingham after Saints boss Jim Mallinder named a starting 15 that contains a mix of youth and experience.

Sam Dickinson, who has signed a short-term deal at Saints after being released by the club at the end of last season, will skipper the team from No.8.

Ken Pisi will make his first appearance of pre-season on the wing, while Paul Hill also starts having recovered from the neck problem that ruled him out of the closing stages of last season.

A youthful bench includes Paddy Ryan, the former Leinster youth player who plays in the back row.

Saints: Furbank; K Pisi, Stephenson, Hutchinson, Elliott; Grayson, Kessell; van Wyk, Haywood, Hill; Moon, Paterson; Nutley, Allman, Dickinson (c).

Replacements: Marshall, Beesley, Painter, Fish, Ryan, D Onojaife, Mitchell, Strachan, Sleightholme.