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Northampton Saints v Gloucester - Aviva Premiership match preview
Northampton have named a much-changed line-up for their return to Aviva Premiership action against Gloucester on Saturday.
With the two sides battling it out for a place in the top four, Saints boss Jim Mallinder has opted to name a strong-looking line-up.
The Pisi brothers - Ken and George - return to the back division alongside Stephen Myler and Lee Dickson.
Phil Dowson takes over the captaincy, with Soane Tonga'uiha and Samu Manoa also included in the pack.
Gloucester will welcome back their England Saxons contingent for the trip to Franklin's Gardens.
Nick Wood and Jonny May both return after missing the past two weeks and are part of six changes made by Nigel Davies.
Darren Dawidiuk, Will James and Akapusi Qera will bolster the pack, while Dan Robson takes over at scrum-half.
Northampton: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha, 2 Mike Haywood, 3 Tom Mercey, 4 Samu Manoa, 5 Mark Sorenson, 6 Phil Dowson (capt), 7 Ben Nutley, 8 GJ Van Velze.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 James Craig, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall (capt), 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Jonny May, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Dan Robson, 1 Nick Wood, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 3 Rupert Harden, 4 Lua Lokotui, 5 Will James, 6 Tom Savage, 7 Akapusi Qera, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso d'Apice, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Shane Monahan, 23 Martyn Thomas.
What they said...
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder
"After four weeks of cup action we are looking forward to getting back to the Aviva Premiership. We're well placed in the league table and close to the top four, and with nine games left there is everything to play for. We need the players to be ready to perform from the first whistle, and it will be fantastic if the fans can create an inspiring atmosphere in the stands.
"Although we played Gloucester a fortnight ago this will be a different game. Both teams will have quite a few changes from that day, and there is always an edge when league points are up for grabs.
"It's going to be a tough contest and as with every week we're going to have to be at our best."
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies
"It's been a complete refocus this week, and a re-organisation of what we've been looking at. And this has been planned. We'd have preferred to be going into this one off the back of two wins, but we're pretty clear about what we need to do.
"Over the past few weeks, we've played a bit more expansively than we have so far this season. The biggest problem we've got at the moment is discipline and that's fundamental to our game. We have to get that right."
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|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com