Skipper Salter returns for Bristol’s Friday Night Live

Bristol Rugby Head Coach Richard Hill recalls skipper Matt Salter as he makes three changes to the pack that started at London Irish recently.


Salter returns on the blindside in place of Iain Grieve who enjoyed a fine full debut at the Madejski. The other changes see Scott Linklater and Roy Winters replace Mark Regan and Nathan Budgett who both move to the bench.


Hill admitted when he announced his team today that the rest of his team’s Guinness Premiership fixtures almost represent another preseason in that it gives him a chance to look at new options.


“We’re almost looking ahead now to how we want to play next year. We’ve been trying to change the style of play and be a little bit more expansive which is tricky when you’re in the heat of battle and points are vital.”


“But it is a bit easier now because we can think a bit about the long term rather than gearing everything towards one fixture at a time.”


“It can be a funny time of year at some clubs with players on the point of moving on but the squad have been working very hard with bags of enthusiasm.”


“We have to try and strike the balance between being relaxed and making unforced errors. We just relaxed a little too much against Quins and Irish. We created loads of chances in each game without finishing them which is better I suppose than not creating them in the first place.”


Hill was also quick to identify the Sale danger man: “Charlie Hodgson. If he doesn’t play, they don’t win. He is a key individual for them who can play two ways. He can either kick you to death as he did to us earlier in the season or he can bang out those long passes.”


“Sale tend not to play too much in their own half. They’ll kick the ball to put pressure on the opposition but raise the pace of the game when they get into the attacking third and then they’re difficult to stop.”


“You have to be able to do deal with their kicks and we’ve done a lot of work with our back three on how to secure the ball and get out of our own third.”


Bristol Rugby:


Luke Arscott; Tom Arscott, Rob Higgitt, Neil Brew, David Lemi; Ed Barnes, Shaun Perry; Darren Crompton, Scott Linklater, Jason Hobson; Roy Winters, Sean Hohneck; Matt Salter (capt), Joe El Abd, Dan Ward-Smith


Replacements:


Mark Regan, Peter Bracken, Nathan Budgett, Andrew Blowers, Haydn Thomas, Jason Strange, Luke Eves.

 

Rugbyweek.com

 

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