SAINTS have named an unchanged team for Sunday’s Aviva Premiership showdown with Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder was pleased with his side’s 24-19 opening day win at Gloucester, and with Brian Mujati being declared fit after a suffering a shin injury in that game, he names the same starting XV.
But also declared that the players will have to up their game for the visit of an Exeter side that thrashed Sale Sharks last weekend.
“It’s vital that we get off to a good start at home,” said the Saints boss.
“Last weekend at Gloucester we got a good away win and now we have to build on that on Sunday afternoon.
“At times we played well and scored three good tries, but in the last 10 minutes we had to dig deep as well. We shouldn’t have got ourselves in that position in the first place, but the team spirit was fantastic, we held our defensive patterns and held them out.
“So we know we have to build on both our attack and defence this weekend.
“Exeter are a quality side, as they have shown for the last couple of seasons. The players work hard for each other and they played well in their win over Sale last Saturday.
“It’s going to be a big game and a tough game, but it is one that we are looking forward to.”
Saints team to face Exeter: Ben Foden; Ken Pisi, George Pisi, Dom Waldouck, Vasily Artemyev; Ryan Lamb, Lee Dickson: Soane Tonga’uiha, Dylan Hartley, Brian Mujati, Samu Manoa, Christian Day, Phil Downson, Tom Wood, GJ Van Velze. Replacements: Mike Haywood, Alex Waller, Tom Mercey, Mark Sorenson, Rhys Oakley, Martin Roberts, Stephen Myler, Luther Burrell.
Tickets are still available for Sunday’s game. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/tickets