Saints make 10 changes for Dragons clash

Rory Hutchinson suffered a knee injury against Glasgow in August but is now fit to start for Saints against the Dragons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Rory Hutchinson suffered a knee injury against Glasgow in August but is now fit to start for Saints against the Dragons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints have made 10 changes for Saturday's Challenge Cup clash with Dragons at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 3pm).

Dan Biggar is the only player who featured in the autumn internationals to be named in the squad.

Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Ahsee Tuala are rested, while Piers Francis is ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Biggar keeps his place at fly-half, with Taqele Naiyaravoro, Alex Waller, who will captain the side, Jamie Gibson and Teimana Harrison also retained from last Saturday's agonising 16-14 Gallagher Premiership defeat to Newcastle Falcons.

Rory Hutchison will make his first appearance of the season, starting at outside centre after recovering from a knee injury sustained during the pre-season win against Glasgow Warriors at the Gardens.

Academy players Ollie Sleightholme and George Furbank are both selected to make their European debuts.

Amongst the replacements Will Davis and Fraser Strachan are in line for their European debuts if they come off the bench, while prop Ehren Painter returns to the matchday squad for the first time since October.

Paul Hill is rested after taking a heavy knock against Newcastle Falcons last weekend, while Saints remain without Ken Pisi (shoulder), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), James Haskell (ankle), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), James Craig (concussion), Tom Emery (shoulder), Mikey Haywood (knee) and Tom Collins (eye).

Saints: Furbank; Sleightholme, Hutchinson, Burrell, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Mitchell; Waller (c), Fish, Franks; Ratuniyarawa, Moon; Gibson, Wood, Harrison.
Replacements: Marshall, Davis, Painter, Ribbans, Eadie, Reinach, Strachan, Kellaway.

Dragons: Amos, Howells, Warren, Dixon, Kirchner; Lewis, Knoyle; Bevington, Hibbard (c), Fairbrother; Nansen, Evans, Keddie, Cudd, Griffiths.
Replacements: Lawrence, Jarvis, Thomas, Screech, Taylor, Benjamin, Davies, Williams.