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Wandies bid for back-to-back A League titles

Posted: 30/04/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Wanderers have made just one change to their starting line-up as they take on Exeter Braves at Franklin’s Gardens this evening in the Premiership Rugby A League Final.

After winning 10 of their 11 A League matches this term, Wandies are gunning to lift the trophy for the second straight year, having claimed the title with a 36-15 victory over Gloucester United 12 months ago.

The side – led by Tom Stephenson – swept aside Harlequins A 46-27 last Monday night to book their place in the showpiece final under the lights at Franklin’s Gardens this evening, and Northampton have largely stuck with that winning formula for the final.

Wandies’ back-line remains unchanged, with skipper Stephenson joined by Fraser Dingwall in the centres, and half-backs James Grayson and Alex Mitchell both starting together again after impressing off the bench for the first team on Sunday.

And there’s bags of experience in the back three as Tom Collins starts at full-back with Ken Pisi and Nafi Tuitavake on either wing.

Jamal Ford-Robinson comes into the starting XV at prop after recovering from injury, with Charlie Clare at hooker and Francois van Wyk making up the front row.

Devante Onojaife and Alex Moon are named in Wandies’ engine room for the third straight match, while Lewis Ludlam, Paddy Ryan and Ben Nutley form a dynamic-looking back row.

There is one change also on the bench for the hosts; scrum-half Tom Emery is added to the replacements.

“This is a different group to last season, but they are just as hungry for success,” said Wanderers coach Mark Hopley.

“Silverware is so important for the Club and for young players in particular. Getting used to success at a young age creates a winning culture, but we’re focused on doing the basics right and hopefully the score will look after itself.

“I’m sure we’ll get a large crowd once again under the lights at Franklin’s Gardens to create a big-game atmosphere, and hopefully we can repay the incredible support they’ve given us throughout this season.”

Tickets for tonight’s match against Exeter Braves are available to purchase from the Franklin’s Gardens ticket office for £5 (adults) and £2 (juniors), while entry for Saints Season Ticket Holders is FREE.

WANDERERS v EXETER BRAVES

Premiership Rugby A League Final

Franklin’s Gardens

Monday 30 April, 2018

Kick-off: 7.30pm

15 Tom Collins

14 Ken Pisi

13 Fraser Dingwall

12 Tom Stephenson (capt)

11 Nafi Tuitavake

10 James Grayson

9 Alex Mitchell

1 Francois van Wyk

2 Charlie Clare

3 Jamal Ford-Robinson

4 Devante Onojaife

5 Alex Moon

6 Lewis Ludlam

7 Paddy Ryan

8 Ben Nutley

Replacements:

16 James Fish

17 Matt Beesley

18 Ehren Painter

19 Toby Trinder

20 Will Allman

21 Tom Emery

22 Fraser Strachan

23 Jamie Elliott

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