Aviva Premiership: Northampton and Harlequins clash as Newcastle host Sale

Last Updated: 03/01/14 7:57pm

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Lee Dickson: The scrum-half returns to Northampton's starting line-up

Lee Dickson: The scrum-half returns to Northampton's starting line-up

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Northampton and Harlequins have both made three changes for their clash at Franklin's Gardens, one of two Aviva Premiership matches taking place on Friday.

The hosts will be looking to do a league double over Quins for the first time since the 2004/05 campaign having won 13-6 at the Twickenham Stoop back in round two.

Saints have in fact lost just one of their last nine Premiership games at home but still find themselves second in the table, three points back of leaders Saracens who don't play until Saturday afternoon, against Gloucester.

Lee Dickson returns at scrum-half for Northampton but Ken Pisi is ruled out due to a leg injury, meaning Tom Collins comes in at full-back.

In the pack, Phil Dowson is drafted into the back row in place of Tom Wood.

Fa'atoina Autagavaia could make his first team debut for Jim Mallinder's side; the Samoan international arrived at Franklin's Gardens before Christmas and has been named amongst the replacements.

Harlequins, who are on a good run of form themselves, having lost just once in their last six, have promoted Tim Molenaar, Karl Dickson and Tom Guest to the starting line-up.

Molenaar replaces centre Tom Casson, who received nine stitches to a head wound after last week's win over Exeter, while Danny Care and Luke Wallace picked up minor knocks and have not recovered in time to feature.

Debut delight

The other Friday fixture sees Newcastle host Sale at Kingston Park, with the home team set to hand a debut to Sinoti Sinoti.

The Samoan international wing jetted into Newcastle last weekend and joined up with his new team-mates on Monday morning. He goes straight into the starting XV on the wing as one of six changes for the Falcons.

Mike Blair, Danny Barnes and Adam Powell are all included in a much-changed back line, while Scott MacLeod and Andy Saull have been selected in the pack.

Newcastle will be aiming to do the double over Sale after narrowly defeating the Manchester club 15-14 at the AJ Bell Stadium earlier in the season.

"Sale are a very good side and they thoroughly deserve to be where they are in the table," said director of rugby Dean Richards. "They have some quality individuals in their ranks that can influence games so we will have to on top of our game if we are to get the result that we want."

Sale counterpart Steve Diamond is able to recall Danny Cipriani after the fly-half missed the last match against Leicester due to illness.

Also returning is Jonny Leota, who teams up again with Sammy Tuitupou in the centres, as the Sharks look to condemn their opponents to a sixth straight league reverse.

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