Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs: Confirmed team news for Friday's clash

Saints have opted to tinker with their two-team policy ahead of Friday's clash with Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 7.45pm).

Rory Hutchinson starts for the second game running
Rory Hutchinson starts for the second game running

Instead of naming a completely fresh 15, as has often been the case since rugby returned last month, Saints have decided to mix things up a little.

It means George Furbank, Rory Hutchinson, Matt Proctor and Tom Collins will all make back-to-back starts having been in from the off at Harlequins last Sunday.

The pack is completely transformed once more, although two players who are part of it, David Ribbans and Teimana Harrison, did come off the bench last weekend.

Henry Taylor will start at scrum-half, having been introduced late on against Harlequins.

The other players to feature in the 30-17 defeat at Harlequins who are also likely to play a part against Exeter are Nick Auterac, Paul Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Shaun Adendorff, Alex Mitchell and Taqele Naiyaravoro, who are all named among the replacements.

Alex Coles (ankle), Harry Mallinder (knee), Ollie Sleightholme (hamstring), Connor Tupai (wrist), Alex Waller (achilles) and Tom Wood (pulmonary embolism) remain sidelined.

As he has done in the past fortnight, Exeter boss Rob Baxter has again utilised his squad to the maximum, opting to go with a completely different starting line-up to that which faced Worcester Warriors last time out.

That means 14 of those who started in the superb win at Bristol Bears take to the field again this time round.

Club captain Jack Yeandle heads up a powerful pack that includes international stars such as Alec Hepburn, Tomas Francis, Dave Dennis, Sam Skinner and Don Armand.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Gareth Steenson will direct operations from half-back, and there is another start in the midfield for the long-serving Phil Dollman.

The sole change comes in the back three where Corey Baldwin, a summer signing from the Scarlets, gets his first Chiefs appearance, lining up alongside Tom O’Flaherty and fellow newcomer Josh Hodge.

Saints: Furbank; Tuala, Proctor, Hutchinson, Collins; Biggar, Taylor; van Wyk, Fish, Franks; Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa; Lawes, Tonks, Harrison (c).

Replacements: Matavesi, Auterac, Hill, Isiekwe, Adendorff, Mitchell, Francis, Naiyaravoro.

Exeter Chiefs: Hodge; O'Flaherty, Dollman, Hendrickson, Baldwin; Steenson, Hidalgo-Clyne; Hepburn, Yeandle (c), Francis; Dennis, S Skinner; Kirsten, Lonsdale, Armand.

Replacements: Innard, Keast, Petch, Price, Capstick, Snow, H Skinner, Wyatt.