PREVIEW: Gloucester Vs Northampton Saints

By Thomas Branston

Louis Picamoles stretches for the line

Jim Mallinder’s men travel to Gloucester in a new years day clash at Kingsholm on Sunday looking to make it two wins from two in the Aviva Premiership.

Northampton dominated in a comprehensive 24-5 win over Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday evening.

Whilst Gloucester narrowly missed out in a 28-24 defeat against Harlequins in big game number nine at Twickenham Stadium on Tuesday.

With the results, Northampton sit just above Gloucester in eighth place whilst the cherry and white’s are in ninth with both sides on 24 points. Gloucester are one place below Northampton because they have won fewer games.

Last time out, Northampton left it late beating Gloucester 23-20 in the reverse fixture at Franklin’s Gardens.

Tries from Louis Picamoles and Tom Kessell accompanied with three Myler penalties and two successful conversions were enough to seal victory.

Saints make one change with George North returning from a head injury, he replaces Juan Pablo Estelles in the side and Harry Mallinder is named on the bench.

Gloucester make eight changes, with the game coming just five days after their defeat at Harlequins in a short turn around.

Greig Laidlaw and back row Ross Moriarty are among those rested, while Andrew Symons makes his full debut for the cherry and white’s.

Winger Charlie Sharples will miss out for the hosts with a knee injury, while Salesi Ma’afu starts in the front row against one of his former clubs.

Gloucester: Hook; Halaifonua, Symons, Twelvetrees, May; Burns, Heinz (c), Hohneck, Hibbard, Ma’afu, Savage, Thrush, Ludlow, Kvesic, Morgan.

Replacements: Matu’u, McAllister, Afoa, Galarza, Moriarty, Laidlaw, Scott, Purdy

Northampton: Foden; Pisi, Burrell, Hanrahan, North, Myler, Groom; Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Lawes, Day, Wood (c), Harrison, Picamoles.

Replacements: Clare, Waller, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Gibson, Kessell, Mallinder, Estelles.

Stephen Myler makes Saints milestone

Saints fly half Stephen Myler will make his 300th club appearance for Northampton Saints when he runs out with the side on Sunday at Kingsholm.

The 32 year-old celebrates the milestone in his tenth season with the club, overseeing the highs and lows of professional rugby in his time at Saints.

He was part of the side that got relegated from the Premiership in 2007, however, he has won the Aviva Premiership in 2014, several European Rugby Challenge Cups and an Anglo-Welsh Cup as well as playing in other finals.


George North makes Saints return

By Thomas Branston

George North set to make his return against Gloucester on Sunday

Northampton Saints winger George North has been named to start against Gloucester just four weeks after suffering yet another concussion incident.

The Welsh international is set to return to Premiership action with Saints just weeks after appearing to be knocked out when colliding with Adam Thompstone in a 19-11 defeat to Leicester Tigers.

This is the fifth head injury incident involving North in two years, his last coming on the 27 March 2015 in a 52-30 win over Wasps.

From December 3rd 2016 vs Leicester Tigers –

Jim Mallinder on North playing on after requiring a head injury assessment:

“I don’t make those decisions and our doctors and medical staff are really clear that if anyone gets knocked unconscious or has had a knock where they look like they are unconscious, they need to come straight off.

“It’s as simple as that. You don’t go to be assessed – you are off straight away. George has had some previous issues so he took it steady.

“The doctor was very, very happy even as he walked off that he was just going to go for an assessment and thankfully he could come back on.”

North flat out on the floor after a collision with Leicester’s Thompstone

Northampton were investigated and received no sanction on allowing North back on the field after what appears to be another concussion incident despite passing pitch side HIA assessments.

North returns on the left wing in place of Juan Pablo Estelles after being stood down by Saints following his latest head injury.

Saints returned to winning ways in the Aviva Premiership with 24-5 win over Sale Sharks at the Gardens last Friday.

North was cleared and made available for the Sale fixture but Northampton opted to give North another week out.

North returns as Myler makes his 300th appearance

Myler reaches Saints Milestone

By Thomas Branston

Northampton Saints Media Session
Myler to claim triple century at Kingsholm on Sunday

Northampton Saints travel to Gloucester in the New Year with fly half Stephen Myler set to make his 300th club appearance.

Myler is set to become only the 16th player in the clubs history to reach a triple century.

The 32 year-old made his first team debut just over ten years ago against Saracens in the Guinness Premiership and in that time has rallied up a points tally of 2,444 in Saints colours.

In that time he has experienced both highs and lows with Northampton, having been part of the sides relegation from the Premiership in 2007 to winning the Aviva Premiership in 2014.

The England international has also won multiple European Rugby Challenge Cups and the Anglo-Welsh Cup, along with a number of other final appearances.

Northampton Saints side to face Gloucester at Kingsholm.

In 2016 Myler converted his 1500th Aviva Premiership point after placing his kick from a Louis Picamoles try against Gloucester at Franklins Gardens, and Jim Mallinder paid tribute to the fly half.

He said: “You don’t play 300 times for a club without being a special player, and Stephen is certainly that.

“He has been a key player for us in my time at the club and is one of the important leaders within the squad.

“His approach has helped him achieve success both as an individual and as part of the team, and I hope that all Saints supporters will join me in congratulating him on reaching 300 appearances.

“In the professional era hitting this milestone is going to be increasingly rare, and Stephen has shown superb loyalty and consistency in his decade at the club.”