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Will Carpenter


Posted Friday, February 14th 2020

Preview: Northampton Saints (a) - Gallagher Premiership

Bristol Bears return to Gallagher Premiership action with a trip to Franklin's Gardens to face Northampton Saints on Sunday afternoon.

After a two-week break from action, Pat Lam's side head into round 10 sitting fifth in the table off the back of an emphatic victory over Gloucester at Ashton Gate.

Saints have enjoyed an impressive start to the season, sitting in second with six wins out of nine. Their last outing however, saw them slip to only a third defeat of the campaign, at the hands of London Irish.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Sunday's Gallagher Premiership clash at Franklin's Gardens.

Match details:

  • Date: Sunday, February 16th
  • Kick-off: 3pm
  • Competition: Gallagher Premiership
  • Where: Franklin's Gardens
  • Referee: Matthew Carley (92nd Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Wayne Barnes. TMO: Graham Hughes. Citing Officer: Paul Hull.
  • Media coverage: BT Sport, BBC Radio Bristol, Channel 5 Highlights 
  • Tickets: Click here to purchase tickets for the match.

Team news

Charles Piutau makes his return from injury when Bristol Bears face Northampton Saints on Sunday (3pm KO).

The full back is the only change to the side that beat Gloucester in round nine of the competition, as Bristol target back to back wins in the Gallagher Premiership.

Luke Morahan switches to the wing, while Shaun Malton continues at hooker with Harry Thacker (neck) unavailable.

Yann Thomas is included in the 23-man squad after recovering from an achilles injury, while Henry Purdy and Ian Madigan are also listed among the replacements.

Bristol Bears team to face Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday, February 16th (3pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Shaun Malton, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. Joe Joyce, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Henry Purdy.

Unavailable: Harry Thacker (neck), Jordan Lay (knee), James Lay (leg), Max Lahiff (shoulder), Aly Muldowney (head), Siale Piutau (knee), Luke Daniels (shoulder), Will Hurrell (head), Charlie Powell (ankle).

Northampton Saints:

15. Harry Mallinder; 14 Tom Collins, 13. Matt Proctor, 12. Rory Hutchinson, 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro; 10. James Grayson, 9. Cobus Reinach; 1. Alex Waller (cc), 2. Mikey Haywood, 3. Owen Franks; 4. Alex Coles, 5. Alex Moon; 6. Mitch Eadie, 7. Tom Wood, 8. Teimana Harrison (cc).

Replacements: 16. James Fish, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Paul Hill, 19. Lewis Bean, 20. Devante Onojaife, 21. Alex Mitchell, 22. Fraser Dingwall, 23. Ahsee Tuala.

Last time out

Saturday, March 9th | Northampton Saints 24-26 Bristol Bears | Gallagher Premiership

Ian Madigan held his nerve to land a last-gasp touchline conversion and fire Bristol Bears to a first away Gallagher Premiership win of the season, in a remarkable encounter that saw Northampton Saints finish the game with just 11 men on the field.

The replacement fly-half stepped up seven minutes into stoppage time to convert Piers O’Conor’s try - Bristol's fourth of the afternoon - which had brought the scores level with just Madigan’s kick to come.

It capped an astonishing ten-minute period in which Cobus Reinach, Jamie Gibson, Tom Wood and Alex Waller were all sent to the sin-bin as Bristol piled on the pressure in the closing stages. 

But a gripping finale came to an equally gripping conclusion, as Sheedy and Madigan combined to send O'Conor over on the left-hand side, before Madigan dealt the killer blow from the tee to seal a memorable bonus-point win on the road for Pat Lam's men.

Read the full report here.

Word from the camp

Pat Lam expects a huge challenge when Bristol Bears travel to face second placed Northampton Saints on Sunday (3pm KO).

The Director of Rugby previewed the round ten Gallagher Premiership clash with gathered media, as Bears go in search of back-to-back wins in the competition at Franklin's Gardens.

Subscribe to Bristol Bears TV by clicking here.

Form guide

Northampton Saints 16-20 defeat at home to London Irish in round nine of Gallagher Premiership Rugby ended a four-game winning run in all competitions.

That defeat was the Saints first at home in Premiership Rugby since April.

Bristol Bears are undefeated in their last three first team matches whilst their victory at home to Gloucester in round nine ended a four-game winless run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

Bristol’s only away win in the tournament this season came at Exeter in round four.

Bristol beat Northampton 26-24 at Franklin’s Gardens in round 16 last season but have not won successive matches against The Saints since 2007

Northampton Saints v Bristol Bears Franklin's Gardens (Kick off: 3pm) Live on BT Sport

Bristol Bears: WDW
Northampton Saints: WWL


Nathan Hughes vs Teimana Harrison

A power battle at number eight on Sunday, as Nathan Hughes faces off with another barnstorming ball carrier in Teimana Harrison. With wind and rain expected, the gain line will be huge and these two will play a big part in determining the result. 

Harry Randall vs Cobus Reinach

Pace and flair aplenty at scrum half on Sunday, as Harry Randall takes on Saints' Springbok sensation, Cobus Reinach. Randall was in impressive form in his last outing against Gloucester and will look to get the Bears backline firing once again.

Statto's corner

  • Bristol Bears are undefeated in their last three first team matches
  • Despite missing the round nine victory over Gloucester, Charles Piutau (788) has made most metres in Gallagher Premiership this season
  • After 10 rounds, Bristol Bears have made more passes (1,422) and beaten more defenders (253) than any other side