January match-winner Tuitavake to start for Saints against Sale

Nafi Tuitavake scored Saints' winner at Sale in January (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Nafi Tuitavake scored Saints' winner at Sale in January (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Nafi Tuitavake will look to thwart Sale Sharks for the second time in as many months after being named in the Saints starting line-up for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash (kick-off 3pm).

Tuitavake was the Northampton match-winner at the AJ Bell Stadium back in January, scoring a late try to earn a vital 24-20 Anglo-Welsh Cup win.

And with Harry Mallinder, who has been rested after illness, not in the Saints squad this weekend, the Tongan starts on the wing at Franklin's Gardens, with Ahsee Tuala reverting to full-back.

There is also a change in the second row, with Api Ratuniyarawa fit to return after a knock kept him out of last weekend's 31-30 defeat to Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.

Ratuniyarawa replaces Michael Paterson, who is among the replacements, while David Ribbans, who was a late withdrawal last Saturday, is again out due to injury.

Tom Wood returns to the starting 15, replacing Jamie Gibson, who is given a breather on the bench.

Ken Pisi gets a place among the replacements, having not featured since the defeat to Bath on February 9.

Alex Waller (arm) and James Craig (knee) remain on the injury list, alongside Ribbans.

Sale make one change to the side that lost 33-32 at Bath last weekend, with Bryn Evans replacing Josh Beaumont in the second row.

Saints: Tuala; Tuitavake, Horne, Burrell, Foden; Francis, Groom; Ma'afu, Haywood, Brookes; Ratuniyarawa, Day (c); Wood, Brüssow, Harrison.
Replacements: Marshall, van Wyk, Ford-Robinson, Paterson, Gibson, Reinach, Myler, Pisi.

Sale Sharks: Haley; Solomona, Addison (c), L James, Yarde; S James, De Klerk; Harrison, Webber, John; Evans, Ostrikov; Ross, B Curry, Strauss.
Replacements: Jones, Flynn, Aulika, Beaumont, Neild, Cliff, McGuigan, Charnley.