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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, August 14th 2020

Preview: Saracens (h) - Gallagher Premiership

Bristol Bears make their long-awaited return to action with a behind closed doors Gallagher Premiership clash with Saracens at Ashton Gate on Saturday (4.30pm KO, live on BT Sport 1).

After 160 days without rugby, the third-place Bears welcome the reigning Premiership and European champions to BS3, looking to extend a five-game winning streak prior to the lockdown period.

Saracens sit bottom of the pile following their points deduction but have earned the second most league points in the Gallagher Premiership this season

Here everything you need to know ahead of Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Saracens at Ashton Gate (4.30pm KO).


Match details:

  • Date: Saturday, August 15th
  • Kick-off: 4.30pm
  • Competition: Gallagher Premiership
  • Where: Ashton Gate
  • Referee: Matthew Carley (93rd Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Jack Makepeace. TMO: Claire Hodnett. Citing Officer: Duncan Bell.
  • Media coverage: BT Sport 1
  • For information about BT Match Pass, click here

Team news

Semi Radradra will make his Bristol Bears debut when the Gallagher Premiership makes its long awaited comeback on Saturday as Saracens visit Ashton Gate (4.30pm KO).

The Fijian international is named in a mouth-watering line-up that includes nine internationals as Pat Lam’s men return to competitive action behind closed doors, with the fixture broadcast live on BT Sport HD.

Hooker Bryan Byrne is set for his first start for the Bears too, while England duo Ben Earl and Kyle Sinckler are listed among the replacements and could make maiden outings from the bench.Bristol Bears team to face Saracens at Ashton Gate on Saturday, August 15th (4.30pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Siale Piutau, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Callum Sheedy; 9. Harry Randall; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.

System players: 16. Harry Thacker, 17. Max Lahiff, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Ben Earl, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Alapati Leiua.

Saracens:

15. Sean Maitland, 14. Alex Lewington, 13. Dom Morris, 12. Juan Pablo Socinom, 11. Rotimi Segun, 10. Alex Goode, 9. Richard Wigglesworth; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Callum Hunter-Hill, 6. Mike Rhodes, 7. Jackson Wray, 8. Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Alec Clarey, 19. Joel Kpoku, 20. Sean Reffell, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Harry Sloan, 23. Elliott Obatoyinbo


Last time out

Saracens 47-13 Bristol Bears | Sunday, December 22nd 2019 | Allianz Park

A Saracens blitz at the start of the second half condemned Bristol Bears to a 47-13 defeat at Allianz Park, as Pat Lam’s men suffered just their second league defeat of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Luke Morahan’s try and eight points from the boot of Callum Sheedy had seen Bristol lead just two minutes before half time, but Max Malins’ score edged the hosts in front at the interval.

But the second period was all Saracens, as Mark McCall’s men ran in 33 unanswered points to claim a fifth successive league win.

Mako Vunipola, Nick Tompkins (2), Ben Earl, Brad Barritt and another for man of the match, Malins, put the game out of Bristol’s reach, ending a seven-game unbeaten run for the Bears.

Read the full report here. 


Word from the camp

Pat Lam says excitement is the overriding emotion ahead of Bristol Bears’ return to Gallagher Premiership action following a 160-day layoff.

The Bears welcome Saracens to Ashton Gate for a behind-closed-doors clash on Saturday (4.30pm KO, live on BT Sport 1) – and the Director of Rugby insists his side are raring to go.

Subscribe to Bristol Bears TV by clicking here.


Form guide

Bristol Bears have won their last five Gallagher Premiership fixtures, their best ever winning run in the history of the competition.

Bristol have lost just one of their last 14 home games in all competitions: 21-26 to Wasps in round seven.

Saracens’ only defeat in the last four rounds was 10-60 at Wasps on February 21. Saracens’ 27-21 victory at Northampton in their most recent away game ended a three-game losing run on the road in Premiership Rugby.

Bristol’s only victory over Saracens in the Premiership since 2008 was 23-21 at Ashton Gate in April 2019.

Bristol Bears: WWW
Saracens: LWW 


Head-to-head

Steven Luatua vs Jackson Wray

The Bears captain lines up against the ever-present Jackson Wray in the back row, hoping to lead his side to a sixth successive victory in the Gallagher Premiership.

Semi Radradra vs Dom Morris

It's the moment we've all been waiting for, as Radradra makes his long-awaited Bears debut against Saracens rising midfield star, Dom Morris.


Statto's corner

  • Jake Woolmore and Alapati Leiua set for 50th competitive games for the club
  • Semi Radradra, Ben Earl and Kyle Sinckler set for club debuts
  • Ben Earl (7) joint top try scorer in Gallagher Premiership on resumption 
  • Callum Sheedy (122) current leading points scorer in Gallagher Premiership

Matchday sponsor: Brighton Williams & Partners


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