Brookes gets first Saints start at Worcester

Kieran Brookes starts for Saints at Worcester
Kieran Brookes starts for Saints at Worcester

Kieran Brookes will make his first appearance in Saints colours in Friday night’s Aviva Premiership opener at Worcester Warriors (kick-off 7.45pm).

The tighthead prop, who joined Northampton from Newcastle Falcons during the summer, linked up with the squad at Franklin’s Gardens earlier this week after England’s World Cup campaign reached its conclusion.

There will also be competitive Saints debuts for Michael Paterson and Jamie Gibson at Sixways, while Paul Hill and JJ Hanrahan are in line to make their first league appearances off the bench.

Saints’ Samoan trio, Ken Pisi, George Pisi and Kahn Fotuali’i, who also returned from the World Cup this week, are in the squad, with only Ken Pisi starting.

Calum Clark is ruled out with a shoulder injury sustained in the pre-season win at Wasps, while James Wilson is sidelined until late December with an arm injury.

Courtney Lawes is still nursing a knee injury picked up during England’s game against Wales, while Tom Wood is given time off after playing a big part in the national team’s World Cup endeavours.

Meanwhile, newly-promoted Worcester have named two former Saints players in their team for the game, with Phil Dowson at six and GJ van Velze at No.8.

Another former Northampton player, fly-half Ryan Lamb, is not in the squad.

Worcester: Pennell; Vuna, Olivier, Mills, Biggs; Heathcote, Arr; Rapava Ruskin, Annett, Schonert; O’Callaghan, Barry; Dowson, Lewis, van Velze (c).

Replacements: George, Leleimalefaga, Rees, O’Shea, Mama, Mulchrone, Grove, Humphreys.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, Stephenson, Burrell, Elliott; Myler, Dickson; A Waller, Hartley, Brookes; Paterson, Day; Gibson, Fisher, Dickinson.

Replacements: Haywood, E Waller, Hill, Nutley, Harrison, Fotuali’i, Hanrahan, G Pisi.