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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, March 22nd 2019

Preview: Bristol Bears vs Worcester Warriors

Bristol Bears welcome Worcester Warriors to Ashton Gate on Saturday afternoon aiming to make it three wins on the bounce in the Gallagher Premiership.

Ian Madigan's stoppage time conversion of Piers O'Conor's try earned a dramatic first away win of the season at Franklin's Gardens last weekend, off the back of a thrilling derby victory over Gloucester at Ashton Gate.

Alan Solomon's Warriors battled to two losing bonus-points against league leaders, Exeter Chiefs last weekend, running in four tries in a 33-30 defeat at Sixways.

Here's everything you need to know about Saturday's clash.


Team news

Bristol Bears: 15. Luke Daniels; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Siale Piutau (co-capt), 11. Tom Pincus; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Lewis Thiede, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steve Luatua, 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Jordan Crane (co-capt).

Replacements: 16. Sam Parry, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. John Afoa, 19. Joe Batley, 20. Dan Thomas, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Mat Protheroe. 

Worcester Warriors: 15. Chris Pennell, 14. Bryce Heem, 13. Ben Te’o, 12. Ryan Mills (c), 11. Josh Adams, 10. Jono Lance, 9. Francois Hougaard; 1. Callum Black, 2. Niall Annett, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Anton Brelser, 5. Michael Fatialofa, 6. Ted Hill, 7. Sam Lewis, 8. Marco Mama.

Replacements: 16. Joe Taufete’e, 17. Ethan Waller, 18. Gareth Milasinovich, 19. Pierce Philips, 20. Carl Kirwan, 21. Michael Heaney, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Will Butler.


Last time out:

Worcester Warriors 52-7 Bristol Bears - Sat, 7th Oct 2018, Sixways

It was an afternoon to forget for Bristol Bears at Sixways, as Pat Lam’s side slumped to a disappointing 52-7 defeat to Worcester Warriors on Sunday.

Bristol scored first courtesy of Yann Thomas’ fourth-minute try, but it was all downhill from there as Worcester ran in seven tries, securing a bonus point inside 36 minutes.

GJ Van Velze, Ryan Mills, Marco Mama, Francois Venter, Chris Pennell, Josh Adams and Bryce Heem all touched down for a rampant Warriors side, while Thomas’ early score was all Bristol had to show for their afternoon’s work.

Ryan Bower was sent off for foul play in the closing stages, but it had little impact on proceedings.


Head-to-head:

Jordan Crane

Jordan Crane has enjoyed another stellar season in the top flight in 2018/19, leading from the front and utilising his experience as Bristol Bears aim to make their mark in the Gallagher Premiership.

The number eight signed a one-year extension at Ashton Gate earlier this year and has made nine league appearances this season, scoring once, against Northampton Saints in Bristol’s last outing.

Marco Mama

Marco Mama initially joined Warriors on loan from Bristol Bears in August 2015 before signing a permanent deal at Sixways in January 2016.

The back row has made 11 appearances in the Gallagher Premiership this season, scoring once, against Bristol at Sixways in October.

The abrasive back-row forward has featured at openside and number eight for the Warriors this season.


Siale Piutau

Siale Piutau has been a mainstay of the Bristol Bears side through this Gallagher Premiership campaign, playing 14 out of 17 games in the league.

The Tongan captain is key to his side’s attack and defence, acting as a second playmaker going forward, as well as marshalling the midfield.

Piutau tops the carry charts for Bristol in the league this season, making 156 to go with his 134 tackles.

Ryan Mills

Ryan Mills joined Warriors in the summer of 2014 after four years with Gloucester Rugby.

The versatile back, who can operate at centre or fly half, has been a key cog in the Warriors machine since his arrival, leading the way in attack and defence at Sixways.

Mills has made the fourth most turnovers in the Gallagher Premiership this season with 13, just two behind teammate, Bryce Heem, who tops the charts with 15.


Word from the camps:

Pat Lam

“We’re really looking forward to the arrival of Worcester this week. It’s the stage of the competition where every point counts, and we’ve seen how dangerous they are.

"They are either winning games really well, or they’re right in the hunt the whole way through, so we understand the challenge that we face this week.

"We continue to grow as a team and it’s given the boys a lot of confidence, but it’s the belief that the outcome will take care of itself as we continue to work hard every day here."

Alan Solomons

“It’s the case that every single game is a massive challenge. Bristol, like every team in the Premiership, are well coached and they will be well-prepared.

They have got some quality players and it will be a tough game.

"They are a team that plays with tempo so it will be a reasonably quick-paced game. 

"The opening part of any game is critical, we saw with that with Wales at the weekend, but there are also key momentum shifts during a game."


Form guide:

Bristol Bears have won their last two matches, against Gloucester and Northampton, but have not won three in a row in Gallagher Premiership Rugby since season 2006/07.

The Bears only defeat in their last four Premiership Rugby games at Ashton Gate was 22-29 to Wasps in Round 13.

Worcester Warriors have lost their last two Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures since beating Leicester at Sixways on February 24th. They have lost their last six away games in Premiership Rugby since beating Leicester at Welford Road on September 23rd.

Worcester beat Bristol at Sixways in Round Six but have not achieved a league double against the Bears since they won all four encounters they played in the RFU Championship in season 2010/11.

The two clubs have met on three previous occasions at Ashton Gate with Warriors only victory being by a single point in the first leg of the RFU Championship final in May 2015.

Bristol Bears: LWW
Worcester Warriors: WLL


Weather forecast

Met Office says: 

Generally cloudy on Saturday with further light rain and drizzle possible in the west at times. Some brighter spells may develop in the northeast. Feeling cooler than previous days.

Maximum temperature 12 °C.


How to buy tickets:

Adult tickets start from £30 and U12s from £10 for this mouthwatering encounter against the Warriors, as Pat Lam's men continue their push for a top six finish.

The popular fan village will be in full swing, with local food and drink outlets, as well as live music and entertainment.

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


Match sponsor: WSSI Limited


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