sport

Northampton v Gloucester preview

Champions Northampton Saints will get the defence of their Aviva Premiership title underway when they entertain Gloucester at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

Having kept their summer recruitment to an absolute minimum, there is a familiar look to Saints line-up.

England internationals Tom Wood, Luther Burrell, Dylan Hartley, Alex Corbisiero, Lee Dickson and Stephen Myler all start in a star-studded line-up along with Wales winger George North as Northampton look to get their season off to a flying start.

There is a place on the bench for former London Irish back row Jon Fisher, who signed after impressing on trial in the summer.

After a busy summer on and off the field, five players will make their debuts for Gloucester under new director of rugby David Humphreys.

Richard Hibbard, John Afoa, Jacob Rowan, Greig Laidlaw and James Hook will all start for the first time, while fellow new boys Tom Palmer, Mark Atkinson and Steve McColl are included on the bench.

With Freddie Burns, Jimmy Cowan and Tavis Knoyle all having left, Laidlaw and Hook will form a new-look half-back combination.

Gloucester are without injured trio Gareth Evans, Matt Kvesic and Nick Wood for the opener.

Northampton: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 6 Calum Clark, 7 Tom Wood, 8 Samu Manoa.Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 James Craig, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Ben Foden

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 1 Dan Murphy, 2 Richard Hibbard, 3 John Afoa, 4 Tom Savage, 5 James Hudson, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Jacob Rowan, 8 Ben Morgan.Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Tom Palmer, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Steve McColl