PREVIEW: Northampton Saints vs Bristol

By Thomas Branston

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Ken Pisi dives over the line

Northampton Saints welcome an inform Bristol to Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday with both sides winning their last two Aviva Premiership matches.

This will be the first meeting between the two sides in seven years where each side collected a win at their respective home grounds.

Bristol have won their last four matches including their last two away from Ashton Gate, beating Pau in the European Challenge Cup and Sale Sharks in the Premiership.

Jim Mallinder’s side have won their last two Premiership fixtures with a 24-5 win over Sale Sharks and a narrow 13-12 win over Gloucester at Kingsholm last Sunday.

When the sides last met in round two Saints came away with a 32-10 victory, scores from George North, Louis Picamoles, Ken Pisi and Mike Haywood.

Mark Tainton’s side will have a hill to climb as Bristol’s only win at Franklin’s Gardens in any tournament since 2001 was a 14-8 victory in the Aviva Premiership in January 2007.

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Nic Groom looks to break away at Ashton Gate

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom; 1 Alex Waller, 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 6 Tom Wood (c), 7 Teimana Harrison, 8 Louis Picamoles

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; 1. Kyle Traynor, 2. Rob Hawkins, 3. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 4. Dan Tuohy, 5. Ben Glynn, 6. Nick Fenton-Wells, 7. Olly Robinson (c), 8. Mitch Eadie

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

Location: Franklin’s Gardens

Kick-off: 3pm

Referee: Andrew Jackson.

Assistant Referees: Steve Lee & Simon McConnell.

TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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