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Northampton Saints v Wasps - Aviva Premiership match preview
Northampton show two changes from the side that defeated Worcester five days ago for the Aviva Premiership clash with Wasps on Friday.
Centre Dom Waldouck replaces George Pisi alongside Luther Burrell in midfield and England flanker Tom Wood features at openside instead of Phil Dowson, who is on bench duty.
Saints are one of only two unbeaten teams in the Aviva Premiership but their director of rugby Jim Mallinder expects a tough test from Wasps.
"They have been very competitive in every game and shown their willingness to play as a team for the full 80 minutes. They soundly beat London Irish two weeks ago and put over 40 points past Harlequins in Round 1 as well," he said.
Prop Tim Payne will make his 250th appearance for Wasps as the Londoners look to bounce back from last weekend's defeat at Gloucester.
Winger James Bailey makes a first-team debut, replacing Tom Varndell, while there are also starts for fly-half Nicky Robinson, flanker Joe Launchbury and No 8 Billy Vunipola.
Stephen Jones has not recovered from stomach illness and his place on the bench has been taken by Lee Thomas.
Northampton: Wilson, K Pisi, Waldouck, Burrell, Artemyev, Myler, Dickson; Tonga'uiha, Hartley (capt), Doran Jones, Manoa, Day, Lawes, Wood, Oakley. Replacements: Haywood, Mujati, Waller, Sorenson, Dowson, Roberts, Lamb, May.
Wasps: T Bell, Wade, Masi, C Bell, Bailey, Robinson, Simpson; Payne, Lindsay, Taufalo, Palmer, Wentzel (capt), Launchbury, Haskell, Vunipola. Replacements: Rhys Thomas, McIntyre, Staibano, Sam Jones, Cannon, Davies, Lee Thomas, Daly.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com