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Waller’s woodwork takes his mind off rugby
Aviva Premiership
Venue: Franklin’s Gardens Date: Friday, 1 December Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Northampton and BBC Newcastle plus live scores on the BBC Sport website

Northampton name Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes in their starting XV after representing England in the autumn internationals.

Their other change sees Rob Horne return from suspension, while James Grayson retains his place at fly-half.

Newcastle have eight changes, including internationals Niki Goneva and Tane Takulua after the autumn Tests.

Chris Harris partners Josh Matevesi in the centres, while lock Calum Green is one of three pack changes.

Jim Mallinder’s Saints, who have won just once in eight games in all competitions, remain without George North (knee), although Alex Waller is in line to make his 150th consecutive Premiership appearance.

The hosts also welcome back internationals Api Ratuniyarawa, Piers Francis and Ahsee Tuala, who are named on the bench.

Match facts

  • Northampton, who have lost their last four Premiership games, have not lost five in a row since 2011.
  • The Saints have lost just once at home in the Premiership since March, to Wasps on 28 October.
  • Newcastle have also lost their last four Premiership matches since beating London Irish 29-17 at Kingston Park on 29 September.
  • The Falcons have won their last three matches against Northampton in the Premiership.

Northampton: Mallinder; Estelles, Horne, Stephenson, Foden; Grayson, Reinach; Waller, Hartley (capt), Ford-Robinson, Paterson, Lawes, Wood, Gibson, Harrison.

Replacements: Haywood, Van Wyk, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Eadie, Groom, Francis, Tuala.

Newcastle: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Sinoti; Flood, Takulua; Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Robinson, Welch (capt), Graham, M. Wilson.

Replacements: Lawson, Mavinga, S. Wilson, Witty, Latu, Stuart, Hodgson, Tait.

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