Preview: Northampton Saints v Bristol

Date published: January 6 2017

Jamie Elliott coming in on the right wing is the only change to Northampton Saints' starting line-up for Saturday’s Premiership clash with Bristol.

Elsewhere Lee Dickson and James Craig both join the replacements’ bench.

Bristol have made three changes from their side, as Adrian Jarvis returns at fly-half, while Kyle Traynor and Jamal Ford-Robinson are also included in the front row.

"Franklin’s Gardens presents a fresh challenge to us this weekend and we have prepared well for what promises to be a hugely physical test," said Mark Tainton.

"The important thing for us is to not change the way we are approaching games. We’ve got to play with the same sense of freedom and desire and we go to Northampton with the belief that we can win."

Club captain Jack Lam recovers from a rib injury to be named in the 23-man squad for the first time since October.

Form: Northampton Saints have won their last two Premiership Rugby matches, at home to Sale and away at Gloucester but have not won three in a row in the tournament since March. The Saints’ only loss in their last four Premiership Rugby matches at Franklin’s Gardens was 16-22 to Newcastle in Round 9. Bristol have won their last four matches in all tournaments, scoring 17 tries in the process compared with only 27 tries scored in their opening 14 first-team games of 2016-17. Bristol have won their last two away games, at Pau in the Challenge Cup and at Sale in Premiership Rugby. Northampton have won their last two fixtures against Bristol in Premiership Rugby, whilst Bristol’s only win at Franklin’s Gardens in any tournament since 2001 was 14-8 in Premiership Rugby in January 2007.

The teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Tom Wood (c), 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 James Craig, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles

Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Jack Wallace, 13 Thretton Palamo 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Olly Robinson (c), 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Luke Arscott

Date: Saturday, January 7
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Simon McConnell
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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