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Will Carpenter


Posted Friday, October 26th 2018

Preview: Northampton Saints vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears will aim to make a winning start to their Premiership Cup campaign when they make the trip to Franklin's Gardens to take on Northampton Saints on Saturday.

Assistant coach, Conor McPhillips and forwards coach, Jonathan Thomas take the reins this weekend, as the Bears target a return to winning ways following last Saturday's narrow defeat to Zebre.

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

Last time out:

Bristol Bears 40 Northampton Saints 45 - Sat, Sep 29th 2018, Ashton Gate

A late fightback from Bristol Bears saw them earn two bonus-points from a scintillating Gallagher Premiership clash, but it wasn’t enough to take the spoils as Northampton Saints edged an 11-try thriller at Ashton Gate.

Pat Lam’s side scored five times in the glorious Autumn sunshine – two in the final ten minutes to seal their consolation points – but conceded six, as Saints hammered home a 20-24 half-time advantage to lead 30-45 with 15 minutes remaining.

Will Hurrell powered over for the second of an impressive brace on 70 minutes – Bristol's fourth - before turning provider for Alapati Leiua, whose fourth try of the season brought the hosts within seven of Saints and secured a second bonus-point.

Harry Thacker was also on the score sheet for Bristol, while Callum Sheedy was immaculate from the kicking tee to finish with a 16-point haul. 


Sam Bedlow

Bedlow made his first start for the club during last weekend's defeat at Zebre, following some strong displays in the Premiership Shield. 

The former Sale Sharks centre moves from inside to outside centre for the clash at Franklin's Gardens, lining up alongside the experienced Tusi Pisi.

Fraser Dingwall

Dingwall signed for Saints Senior Academy at the start of the 2017/18 season having risen through the ranks at the Club after graduating from Bedford School.

The England U20 centre represented his country in the U20 Six Nations, as well as a Junior World Cup warm-up game against the Junior Springboks.

Ehize Ehizode

Dynamic lock, Ehizode makes his first start for Bristol Bears, following his man of the match display for Hartpury last weekend, where he is dual registered. 

The former Wasps man goes head-to-head with the experienced Dom Barrow. 

Dom Barrow

Dom Barrow joined Northampton Saints at the beginning of the 2018/19, making the move from Leicester Tigers via a short injury-cover stint at La Rochelle. 

The lock was part of the Junior World Championship winning England U20 side of 2013. 

Word from the camps:

Jonathan Thomas

"You usually find that young players are pretty fearless because they don’t think too much, and we’ve got some young players that we’re pretty excited about and the opportunity that they will get this weekend.

"So, for those guys it’s about taking that opportunity, being excited about the opportunity, but crucially, trying to nail their opportunity by executing their role within the system."

Chris Boyd

"They'll finally get an opportunity and it's a part of growing and learning as a professional.

"By and large most of the guys will get a chance over the next few weeks and it's their opportunity to say, 'don't forget about me'."

Form guide:

Bristol Bears followed up a resounding 43-22 victory over Zebre at Ashton Gate with a narrow 20-17 defeat in the return fixture in Parma last weekend.

It leaves Pat Lam's side with a season record of three wins and five defeats in all competitions - one they will be keen to improve at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

After a 23-15 defeat to local rival Leicester Tigers at Twickenham, Saints then kicked off their European Challenge Cup campaign with defeat to Clermont Auvergne.

But Chris Boyd's side bounced back with a 21-35 win at Dragons the following week, and will be looking to make it an early-season double over the Bears.

Bristol Bears: LWL
Northampton Saints: LLW

Weather forecast

Met Office says: 

Cold, frosty start, with some sunny spells and brisk northerly winds.

Cloud then thickens through the morning, bringing heavy showers inland.

Maximum temperature 7 °C.

How to buy tickets:

If you're heading to Franklin's Gardens, tickets are available to purchase online now by clicking here.