Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors: Team news for the Boxing Day battle

Dan Biggar will be back at 10 for Saints when they welcome Worcester Warriors to Franklin's Gardens on Boxing Day.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 24th December 2020, 12:06 pm
Dan Biggar
Dan Biggar

The fly-half missed last weekend's 35-19 defeat to Leinster in Dublin due to a knee problem but is fit enough to start against the Warriors.

He is partnered at half-back by Alex Mitchell, with Tom James dropping to the bench.

Rory Hutchinson and Fraser Dingwall remain at centre but the wingers are changed as Matt Proctor and Ahsee Tuala come in for Ryan Olowofela and Taqele Naiyaravoro.

George Furbank, who started at 10 in Biggar's absence last weekend, reverts back to 15.

In the pack, the likes of David Ribbans and Courtney Lawes return after being rested.

Lewis Ludlam has shrugged off a shin issue to start at seven, while Teimana Harrison also returns to the starting 15.

Tom Wood is out as he will miss the next three games due to a suspension picked up for a dangerous clear-out against Leinster last weekend.

Harry Mallinder, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Achilles), Samson Ma’asi (illness), Ollie Sleightholme (ankle) and Kayde Sylvester (Achilles) remain unavailable due to injury.

For Worcester, tighthead prop Nick Schonert and former England flanker Matt Kvesic will return from injury lay-offs.

Schonert has not played since the victory over London Irish in the opening round on November 21 but has now recovered from the ankle injury he sustained in training and comes straight into the starting 15.

Kvesic has also regained fitness after suffering a shoulder injury at Bristol Bears four weeks ago and also starts with Marco Mama, who lined up at openside against Ospreys last Saturday, switching to number eight.

There is a new combination in the second row where Justin Clegg and Andrew Kitchener team up for the first time since the European Rugby Challenge Cup match against Dragons 12 months ago.

Francois Hougaard and Billy Searle renew their half-back partnership, having been used as replacements against Ospreys.

Former Saints prop Ethan Waller and hooker Niall Annett, who also came off the bench last week, also start, with Waller’s fellow loosehead Marc Thomas in line to make his first Premiership appearance for Warriors as a replacement.

Saints: Furbank; Proctor, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Tuala; Biggar, Mitchell; Waller (cc), Matavesi, Hill; Ribbans, Isiekwe; Lawes, Ludlam (cc), Harrison.

Replacements: Haywood, van Wyk, Franks, Moon, Adendorff, James, Collins, Naiyaravoro.

Worcester Warriors: Nanai; Humphreys, Lawrence, Beck, David; Searle, Hougaard; Waller, Annett, Schonert; Clegg, A Kitchener; Hill (c), Kvesic, Mama.

Replacements: Cutting, Thomas, Palframan, Batley, du Preez, Simpson, Weir, O Morris.