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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, September 7th 2018

Preview: Saracens vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears travel to Allianz Park to take on reigning Gallagher Premiership champions, Saracens on Saturday afternoon (3pm). 

Pat Lam's side head into the round two clash off the back of a thrilling 17-10 derby victory over Bath at Ashton Gate, while Mark McCall's men secured a bonus-point win at Kingston Park as they saw off Newcastle Falcons 32-21 last weekend. 

Here's your big match preview ahead of tomorrow:


Last time out:

Saracens 27-9 Bristol Rugby - Sat, 29th April 2017 - Allianz Park

A gritty and determined Bristol performance wasn’t enough to prevent them from going down 27-9 to reigning Premiership and European champions Saracens at Allianz Park.

Mark Tainton’s side had led 9-3 at the break thanks to three Gavin Henson penalties, with Owen Farrell pulling one back for the hosts.

But Sarries hit back with four second half tries courtesy of Petrus Du Plessis (2), Nick Tompkins and Chris Ashton to record a bonus-point victory.


Head-to-head:

Steven Luatua

Steven Luatua was a permanent fixture in almost every Gallagher Premiership 'team of the week' selection following a back-row masterclass against Bath on Friday.

The All Black flanker put in a huge defensive shift in the round one win, making 11 tackles and one turnover as Bristol held off their West Country rivals to secure a first league win of the season.

Michael Rhodes

The South Africa-born back-row forward is something of an unsung hero in the Gallagher Premiership, but his work doesn't go unnoticed in the Saracens camp, with coach Alex Sanderson describing his all-action flanker as the 'best No.6 in the Premiership'.

Rhodes arrived at Allianz Park in 2015 and has made more than 50 appearances for the club. 


Harry Thacker

Thacker impressed on his Gallagher Premiership debut for his new club following a summer switch from Leicester Tigers.

The pocket-rocket hooker was on target in the lineout, while also getting his hands on the ball in the loose with some lively carries.

Long touted as a future England international, Thacker goes head-to-head with the current number two in Eddie Jones' side.

Jamie George

England and British and Irish Lions hooker, Jamie George kicked his 2018/19 season off with a try during Saracens' opening day 32-21 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.

The 27-year-old is reliable at the set-piece and impressive in the loose and will provide Pat Lam's side with the sternest of tests on Saturday afternoon.


Word from the camps:

Pat Lam

“They have had pretty much the same core coaching group for many years and have built a lot of success. They’re defending champions and if you think you can just roll into that and things are just going to happen, you’re kidding yourself. So, it’s been pretty intense so far this week."

Owen Farrell

"I know they are ambitious and want to push, and at the same time we’ll be wary of them, but it’s about us trying to improve on what we’ve done, making sure we live up to our standards."


Form guide:

Bristol Bears kicked off their Gallagher Premiership campaign with a 17-10 victory over local rivals Bath, while a quick-fire double from replacement Alex Lewington fired Saracens to a bonus-point win at Newcastle Falcons.

Saracens have won their last eight Gallagher Premiership matches, scoring at least four tries in each of the last seven. Mark McCall's side have lost just once at Allianz Park in Premiership Rugby since November, when they were beaten by Leicester in February.

Bristol Bears have won their last six competition matches since tripping up at home to Jersey Reds in last year’s RFU Championship. Bristol’s most recent away game in Premiership Rugby was also at Allianz Park, losing 9-27 there to Saracens in April 2017.  

Saracens have won their last five fixtures against Bristol in Premiership Rugby, since the Bears 18-3 win at Memorial Stadium in January 2008. 

Bristol Bears: LWLW
Saracens: WWWW


Weather forecast:

Met Office says: Another chilly start, then dry with warm sunny spells in many areas. Maximum temperature 21 °C.


How to buy tickets:

Tickets are available from the official Saracens website, purchase online now by clicking here.


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