Saints call on Collins as Chiefs come to town


Tom Collins will make his first start of the season in Saints’ New Year’s Day clash with Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 3pm).

The 21-year-old wing impressed in a cameo at London Irish last weekend, setting up Kahn Fotuali’i for a second-half try.

And he will now move into a backline that also includes JJ Hanrahan, who replaces Stephen Myler at fly-half.

Full-back Ben Foden will skipper Saints, who have made a total of six changes from their surprising 25-23 defeat at Irish on Boxing Day.

Mike Haywood returns at hooker, while Alex Waller is back in the No.1 shirt, Victor Matfield comes in at lock and Sam Dickinson is at No.8.

Academy product Harry Mallinder is in line to make his first Aviva Premiership appearance for Saints from the bench.

Alex Corbisiero (knee), Kieran Brookes (knee), Tom Wood (shoulder) and Calum Clark (shoulder) remain sidelined.

Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs are also without a number of key men as they head to Northampton shorn of the services of stars such as Julian Salvi and Henry Slade.

They can call on Will Hooley though, with the former Saints fly-half named among the replacements.

Exeter currently sit second in the Premiership, having won six of their seven league games this season.

Saints are fifth, with three wins from seven matches.

Saints: Foden (c); Collins, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Hanrahan, Fotuali’i; A Waller, Haywood, Hill; Lawes, Matfield; Gibson, Harrison, Dickinson.

Replacements: Hartley, E Waller, Denman, Day, Paterson, Dickson, Myler, Mallinder.

Exeter Chiefs: Dollman; Nowell, Campagnaro, Whitten, Woodburn; Steenson, Chudley; Moon, Yeandle (c), Francis; Lees, Parling; Armand, Johnson, Waldrom.

Replacements: Taione, Rimmer, Low, Atkins, White, Lewis, Hooley, Short.