Saints debuts for Pisi, van Velze and Waldouck

DEBUT - GJ van Velze
DEBUT - GJ van Velze

KEN PISI, GJ van Velze and Dom Waldouck will all make their Saints debuts in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership clash against Gloucester at Kingsholm (ko 3pm).

England international Tom Wood also returns to the fray for his first match since March due to injury, while Ryan Lamb has been given the nod at fly-half.

Ken Pisi will line up on the wing, with his brother George forming a new-look centre pairing with Waldouck.

Saints face a tough start at Gloucester, and director of rugby Jim Mallinder says he is looking for his team to step up their all-round game after an impressive pre-season.

The build-up has included wins over Leinster and Edinburgh, but the Saints boss says every player in the squad will have to improve if they are to come home from Kingsholm with the points.

“Training this summer has been good and we’ve had some promising pre-season performances, but none of that will count if we don’t get a positive result tomorrow,” said Mallinder.

“Gloucester is always a tough place to visit, and they have played well over the past few weeks.

“We know that we need to play a lot better, increase our intensity and accuracy and defend well right from the first whistle. It’s going to be interesting to see how both teams go in the game – Gloucester have new coaches and new ideas, while we’ve brought in a few players and made a couple of changes.

“But we’re feeling positive ahead of the trip and we’re looking forward to meeting the challenge.”

Saints team: Foden, K Pisi, G Pisi, Waldouck, Artemyev, Lamb, Dickson, Tonga’uiha, Hartley (capt), Mujati, Manoa, Day, Dowson, Wood, van Velze. Replacements: Haywood, Waller, Doran-Jones, Sorenson, Oakley, Roberts, Myler, Burrell.