Hartley to hit 250 as Saints bring back international stars for Falcons clash

Dylan Hartley will make his 250th Saints appearance on Saturday
Dylan Hartley will make his 250th Saints appearance on Saturday

Dylan Hartley will make his 250th Saints appearance this weekend as the black, green and gold welcome back their international players against Newcastle Falcons.

Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Ahsee Tuala all go straight back into the starting line-up, with Piers Francis another to return to the first 15.

In all, Saints make a total of seven changes to the team that lost 18-13 at Sale Sharks last Saturday.

Jamie Gibson replaces the rested Tom Wood, while David Ribbans is back after missing the trip to the AJ Bell Stadium due to flu.

Fraser Dingwall keeps his place after not travelling to the England Under-20s development camp, with Ollie Sleightholme also retained so he can take his place on the bench.

James Grayson drops out of the squad completely following the return of Wales fly-half Biggar.

For Newcastle, wing Vereniki Goneva returns after helping Fiji to a sensational win in France last weekend.

The Premiership player of the season comes in as one of four changes to the side which beat Bath last time out.

Mark Wilson returns to the back row after starting in all four of England’s autumn internationals, while fit-again lock Sean Robinson makes his first appearance of the season.

The other alteration sees David Wilson start at tighthead in place of the injured Jon Welsh.

Tonga captain Sonatane Takulua returns from international duty to take up a place on the bench where he is joined by Samoa’s Logovi’i Mulipola.

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

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Williams, Sinoti Sinoti; Flood (c), Stuart; Lockwood, Cooper, Wilson; Green, Robinson; Wilson, Hardie, Nagusa.
Replacements: McGuigan, Brocklebank, Mulipola, Davidson, Graham, Takulua, Connon, Bettencourt.