Match Preview: Northampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons

Match Preview: Northampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons

Leaders Northampton Saints will look to extend their winning streak when they welcome Newcastle Falcons to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Phil Dowson’s side have won nine straight games in all competitions but welcome a Falcons team who opened their season account with victory in Perpignan last weekend.

Saints are without their England contingent but Lewis Ludlam makes his return from injury to lead the team while Courtney Lawes will line up alongside him in the back row.

Falcons, meanwhile, welcome back some key figures of their own including skipper Callum Chick and Adam Radwan on the wing.

TV: Live on TNT Sports, kick-off 2pm

Referee: Sara Cox

Assistant Referees: Adam Leal and Jamie Leahy

TMO: Andrew Jackson

Northampton Saints: 15 Rory Hutchinson, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12 Tom Litchfield, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Charlie Savala, 9 Tom James; 1 Alex Waller, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Temo Mayanavanua, 5 Chunya Munga, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Lewis Ludlam (c), 8 Sam Graham

Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Tarek Haffar, 18 Elliot Millar Mills, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Angus Scott-Young, 22 Callum Braley, 23 Joel Matavesi

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Cameron Hutchison, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 Bryan Byrne, 3 Murray McCallum, 4 John Hawkins, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick (captain).

Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Freddie Lockwood, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Mateo Carreras.

Oval Insights

Northampton Saints

• Ollie Sleightholme scored the only hat-trick of Round 11. He has scored six tries in his last four Premiership appearances and is now the joint-top try-scorer in the league.

• Alex Mitchell assisted three tries in Round 11. No other player assisted more than one.

• Sam Graham was the only player to win three turnovers in Round 11. He also made 14 carries and 14 successful tackles.

• George Furbank and Ollie Sleightholme were the only teammates in the last round of Premiership rugby to make three clean breaks each; no player made more.

Newcastle Falcons

• Jamie Blamire has won a total of ten turnovers this season – the third-most in the league and more than any other front-row player.

• Adam Radwan has beaten the third-most defenders in the Premiership (36). He is also among the top ten players for clean breaks (nine).

• Callum Chick is the only Falcons player who has made more than 100 carries, a total of 110. He has also made the second-most successful tackles in the squad (103).

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