Bristol ring the changes for Northampton return leg

Bristol Rugby Head Coach Richard Hill has responded to last weekend’s heavy defeat at Northampton Saints by retaining five players from the starting line up in the team to face the same opponents on Sunday.


In the post match press conference last weekend, Hill admitted that he thought he would have to make changes and he has duly done so.

Only Tom Arscott, Luke Eves, Mark Irish, Dave Attwood (pictured) and Matt Salter retain their starting places as Bristol look to bounce back and restore some pride.

The game is far from being a dead rubber for Bristol who still have hopes of qualification for the knockout stages.

Bristol Rugby Assistant Coach John Brain admitted that the review of last week hadn’t been pleasant but that the squad was looking forward not backward.

“There’s been a lot of work put in this week, particularly on our defence because we leaked a lot of points and were very disappointed to be defeated so heavily.”

“We did field what some people might perceive to be an under strength team but we still didn’t expect to get beaten by ten tries to nil so we’ve done a lot of soul searching.”

“There have been two drivers behind the selection. The first, to ensure that we win at home and the second to prepare the players who haven’t played for a couple of weeks for the next round of Guinness Premiership matches.”

“Our last 40 minutes of GP action was very good and we have to get back to playing well and winning. And I expect that we’ll perform a lot better with the personnel changes and after the thorough review we’ve had.”

“It’s not so much about looking back at last week now. It’s about looking forward and getting our game in order. We want to win and play well and have the players going into training next feeling confident and that things are back on track.”

Bristol Rugby:

Luke Arscott; Tom Arscott, Neil Brew, Luke Eves, David Lemi; Ed Barnes, Shaun Perry; Mark Irish, David Blaney, Darren Crompton; Dave Attwood, Robert Sidoli; Matt Salter, Joe El Abd (capt), Dan Ward-Smith

Replacements:Scott Linklater, Alex Clarke, Nathan Budgett, Alfie To’oala, Graeme Beveridge, Adrian Jarvis, Lee Robinson.

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