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  • European Rugby Challenge Cup
  • Semi Final
  • 25th Apr 2014
  • KO 20:00
  • Ground: Franklin's Gardens
  • Att: 10,077

Amlin Challenge Cup: Northampton and Harlequins clash in semi-final

Last updated: 25th April 2014  

Charlie Walker after scoring for Harlequins

Charlie Walker: Returns for Harlequins

James Wilson Northampton Aviva Premiership

James Wilson: Comes in at full-back for Northampton

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Previous winners Northampton and Harlequins clash in Friday's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final at Franklin's Gardens.

The Saints are aiming to reach the final for the second occasion, after their previous success in 2009, while Harlequins have lifted the trophy three times - in 2001, 2004 and 2011 - the most in the competition's history.

The pair will be playing for the right to face either London Wasps or Bath in this year's final - with all four teams coming from the Aviva Premiership.

Both the Saints and Harlequins dropped down from the Heineken Cup into the quarter-final stage of the competition, with Northampton overcoming Sale Sharks 28-14 and Quins defeating Stade Francais 29-6.

Northampton go into the game on the back of a 36-21 win over London Irish in the Premiership last time, while Harlequins beat Leicester Tigers 24-20 in the same competition.

Team news

The Saints' starting line-up for shows four changes - two in the back line, with the others coming in the forwards.

Out wide James Wilson comes in at full-back, with England Under-20 centre Tom Stephenson wearing the number 12 shirt.

Up front James Craig pairs with Samu Manoa in the second row, with Calum Clark - who made his 100th appearance against the Exiles last time - coming off the bench to start in the back row.

The Saints coaches have also named a strong bench, featuring the likes of Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Luther Burrell. Mike Haywood returns to the matchday 23 after missing last Sunday's win.

Meanwhile, there are three changes for Harlequins to the side which beat Leicester last week as Charlie Walker returns from an injury sustained against Clermont Auvergne in January to start on the right wing.

Ben Botica starts at fly-half, replacing Nick Evans who picked up a knock during last week's match.

In the forwards, Joe Marler returns to loosehead prop in place of Mark Lambert, as the second and back-rows remain unchanged.

Among the replacements, Louis Grimoldby will look to make his first European appearance for the club.

Northampton Saints: 15 Wilson, 14 Elliott, 13 Pisi, 12 Stephenson, 11 North, 10 Myler, 9 Fotuali'i; 1 Waller, 2 McMillan, 3 Ma'afu, 4 Manoa, 5 Craig, 6 Clark, 7 Dowson (c), 8 Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Haywood, 17 Denman, 18 Mercey, 19 Lawes, 20 Wood, 21 Glynn, 22 Burrell, 23 Collins.

Harlequins: 15 Brown, 14 Walker, 13 Molenaar, 12 Turner-Hall, 11 Smith, 10 Botica, 9 Care; 1 Marler, 2 Ward, 3 Sinckler, 4 Matthews, 5 Robson, 6 Wallace, 7 Robshaw (c), 8 Easter.
Replacements: 16 Buchanan, 17 Lambert, 18 Doran Jones, 19 Guest, 20 Fa'asavalu, 21 Dickson, 22 Grimoldby, 23 Lindsay-Hague.

Watch Northampton v Harlequins live on Sky Sports 2 at 8pm.

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Phil Edwards

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