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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, September 21st 2018

Preview: Bristol Bears vs Harlequins

Bristol Bears will be looking to bounce back from successive away defeats when they welcome Harlequins to Ashton Gate on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

Paul Gustard's side arrive in BS3 following back-to-back defeats of their own in the Gallagher Premiership, after going down to Northampton Saints and Bath, while Bristol are seeking a return to winning ways after defeats on the road at Saracens and Gloucester.

Here's your big match preview ahead of Saturday's clash:


Last time out:

Bristol Rugby 8-42 Harlequins - Fri, 10th Feb 2017 - Ashton Gate

Tom Varndell became the Premiership's all-time leading try scorer - but it wasn't enough to prevent his side from slipping to a heavy 42-8 defeat at the hands of Harlequins at Ashton Gate.

The winger touched down in the 19th minute - after Joe Marchant had given Quins a fifth-minute lead - shaking off the attentions of Marland Yarde in the left-hand corner with a fine finish. But that was as good as it got for Bristol as tries from Mark Reddish, Charlie Mulchrone, Matt Hopper and James Chisholm completed a bonus-point win for the visitors. 


Head-to-head:

Andy Uren

The homegrown scrum-half will be hoping for a repeat performance from the opening game of the season, when his impact from the bench helped Bristol Bears to a memorable derby victory at Ashton Gate.

Uren was named in the starting line-up for Bristol's trip to Allianz Park to take on Saracens, and will be relishing his match-up against England international, Danny Care.

Danny Care

The 81-cap England scrum-half touched down during Quins' defeat to Bath at The Stoop last weekend. 

Care is a live-wire number nine with an impressive array of attacking kicks in his armoury. 

Pat Lam's side will be fully aware of the threat Care will pose and will be on red alert to deal with the 31-year-old.


George Smith

George Smith spent ten minutes in the sin-bin against Gloucester, but during the flanker's 70-minute stint, he still managed wrack up an impressive 21 tackles, as well as influencing two turnovers.

The Wallaby legend's battle with former England captain, Chris Robshaw is a mouthwatering prospect, as the pair battle for ascendency at the breakdown. 

Chris Robshaw

Work rate and physicality are at the heart of Chris Robshaw's game, and the former England captain will line up in the number seven for Quins on Saturday.

The 66-cap international goes head-to-head with 111-cap Australia international George Smith at Ashton Gate, with an enthralling breakdown battle awaiting. 


Word from the camps:

Pat Lam

“It seems like a while since we played Bath on an amazing night with huge support, so everyone is looking forward to getting back home and trying to get the points versus Harlequins.

“In the Premiership, you’ve got to be winning your home games and then trying to go away and pick up as many games and as many points as you can. It’s round four, we’re back at home and looking forward to it.”

Paul Gustard

“Last week against Bath our Game Changers brought good energy to the team and helped us get two points out of the match but I really want to see our starting XV bring that same energy to Ashton Gate from the kick-off this week.

“I have a lot of admiration for Pat Lam and the way his Bristol team are going about their business this season. We look forward to tackling the challenge they will offer in front of their home crowd with the skill and spirit that our supporters can be proud of.”


Form guide:

Bristol Bears' and Harlequins' results have mirrored each other this season, with Pat Lam's side beating Bath on the opening day before losing to Saracens and Gloucester back-to-back, while Paul Gustard's men followed up an emphatic bonus-point victory over Sale with defeats to Northampton Saints and Bath. 

The Bears have won their last three matches in all competitions at Ashton Gate since Jersey Reds beat them there in the Championship in March.

Harlequins have not won away from home in any tournament since visiting Saracens in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last November.

Bristol have not beaten Harlequins in Premiership Rugby since a contest at Memorial Stadium in October 2006, however they did win both encounters in the European Champions Cup in season 2007/08. Harlequins only previous visit to Ashton Gate ended with a 42-8 victory in February 2017.

Bristol Bears: WLL
Harlequins: WLL


Weather forecast

Met Office says: 

Cloudy with rain arriving in most areas during the morning.

This will then linger, giving a dull and wet day with heavy rain in places at times. Maximum Temperature 16 °C.


How to buy tickets:

Tickets are available to purchase online now by clicking here, or via supporter services on 0117 963 0600.


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