Northampton v London Welsh - Aviva Premiership match preview
Last Updated: 23/11/12 1:30pm
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder insists complacency will not be an issue when his side host London Welsh at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.
The clash will be the first time that Northampton and Welsh have met in the top flight, although the two did cross paths during the Saints' Championship season of 2007/08.
The visitors have impressed since their promotion and already have three league wins on the board and Mallinder insists his troops will treat them with plenty of respect.
"London Welsh have been very competitive this season and we will not be taking them lightly," he stated. "They have players with the experience and ability to take advantage if we make a mistake, and with Lyn Jones they have a coach who has been around the game for a long time."
Welsh head into the game on the back of two heavy defeats in the LV= Cup, but Jones believes the size of the task in hand this weekend will galvanise his players.
"The players are really excited about the prospect of playing at Franklin's Gardens and it will be a pleasure for a lot of them to play against some of the best players in Europe," commented Jones. "As a rugby player you really want to be taking on and measuring yourself against the best, and Northampton are certainly up there with the elite of European rugby."
Jones makes a total of nine changes to the side that were well beaten by Gloucester last time out with Hudson Tonga'uiha, Tom Arscott and Tyson Keats all coming into the back-line.
In the pack, Franck Montanella and Neil Briggs come into the front row, Russian international Kirill Kulemin returns in the engine room to partner captain Jonathan Mills, while Ed Jackson and former Saint Daniel Browne are restored to the back row.
Northampton: 15 Tom May, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 GJ Van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark (c) 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Alex Day, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Vasily Artmeyev
London Welsh: 15. Tom Arscott, 14. Dan Caprice, 13. Sonny Parker, 12. Hudson Tonga'uiha, 11. Nick Scott, 10. Gordon Ross, 9. Tyson Keats; 1. Franck Montanella, 2. Neil Briggs, 3. Paulica Ion, 4. Jonathan Mills, 5. Kirill Kulemin, 6. Daniel Browne, 7. Ed Jackson, 8. Adam Balding
Replacements: 16. Greg Bateman, 17. Tom Bristow, 18. James Tideswell, 19. Matt Corker, 20. Alfie To'oala, 21. Jamie Stephenson, 22. Alex Davies, 23. Seb Jewell
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins