Returning lock Matt Symons will captain London Irish for their Boxing Day Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton Saints (kick-off 2 30pm).
Tom Court and Ben Franks start in the front row either side of hooker David Paice, who returns to the fold having missed Irish’s last two fixtures in the European Challenge Cup. Nic Rouse will partner Symons in the second row with Luke Narraway, Blair Cowan and Ofisa Treviranus the trio selected to start in the back row.
Brendan McKibbin and Chris Noakes form the half back pairing with Johnny Williams and Canadian international, Ciaran Hearn in the midfield. Aseli Tikoirotuma, Alex Lewington and Sean Maitland comprise the Exiles’ back three.
London Irish Head Coach Tom Coventry said: “On behalf of the Club, I would firstly like to wish all of our supporters a very Merry Christmas. We hope you enjoy the festivities with family and friends. The squad have worked hard this week and responded well to the result in Edinburgh last Friday. Northampton are a top side and we know the challenge we face on Saturday but we have prepared well and will go out and put in a passionate performance in front of our families and supporters.”
London Irish team to face Northampton Saints:
15. Sean Maitland*; 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Ciaran Hearn*; 12.Johnny Williams; 11. Aseli Tikoirotuma*; 10. Chris Noakes; 9. Brendan McKibbin; 1. Tom Court*; 2. David Paice* 3. Ben Franks*; 4. Matt Symons (Captain); 5. Nic Rouse; 6. Luke Narraway*; 7. Blair Cowan*; 8. Ofisa Treviranus*
Replacements: 16. Jimmy Stevens; 17. Tom Smallbone; 18. Halani Aulika*; 19. Joe Trayfoot; 20. Jebb Sinclair*; 21. Scott Steele; 22. Shane Geraghty*; 23. Fergus Mulchrone