Bristol make three changes for Worcester

Bristol Rugby Head Coach Richard Hill keeps changes to a minimum as his team return to Guinness Premiership action against Worcester Warriors at Sixways on Saturday.

The majority of the team that has featured against Stade Francais and Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Cup in the past two weeks will again be on duty.

Centre Neil Brew, however, is ruled out with a knee injury incurred in the Cardiff game. As a result, All Black David Hill comes in at inside centre to partner Rob Higgitt.

The other change to the backs sees Scotland international scrum half Graeme Beveridge replace Brian O’Riordan with the Irishman moving to the bench.

And, there is just the one change to the pack with Darren Crompton starting at tighthead in place of England Saxons call up Jason Hobson.

One key change amongst the replacements sees Lee Robinson named in the matchday squad for the first time since early December.

It’s a crucial game for both teams. Worcester have yet to win in the Premiership this season and are looking uncomfortably over their shoulders at Leeds Carnegie who are just two points behind the Warriors.

Bristol, for their part, are looking to move up the table and push for the automatic Heineken Cup qualification places.

Assistant Coach John Brain, looking forward to his first return to Sixways since leaving last summer, knows that Worcester will be desperate to win.

“There’s no hangover from Sunday. We’re excited about Worcester, it’s always good to get back to the Premiership which is our bread and butter”

“Our last outing against Saracens went well and we know that if we play well against Worcester and win then we have the opportunity to move up the table as the teams immediately above us have difficult matches.”

“Worcester have had a difficult start to the season and we’ll be looking to compound that. They obviously envisaged that the foreign imports coming in around November time would make a difference and their performances have improved but they’ve yet to win although they should have won at Newcastle.”

“So, they’ll be desperate to beat us for a number of reasons. They won’t want to get to the halfway mark without a win. It can get claustrophic the longer you go without a win so I think all the pressure is on them.”

And on the team changes: “Losing Neil Brew is a blow for us. He’s a quality player who gives us a lot of go forward but Lee Robinson is back and Lee does tend to go well against Worcester as I know from bitter experience!”

“Graeme (Beveridge) is ready and is up to speed with what we are doing. “Brian (O’Riordan) is a very good player and is doing a good job for the team. He has a good rugby brain and poses a threat.”

“But at the start of this match we feel that Bevvy’s speed of delivery away from the ruck will help us as an attacking force in the game.”

Bristol Rugby:

Luke Arscott; Tom Arscott, Rob Higgitt, David Hill, Anthony Elliott; Jason Strange, Graeme Beveridge; Alex Clarke, Mark Regan, Darren Crompton; Roy Winters, Sean Hohneck; Matt Salter (capt), Alfie To’oala, Andrew Blowers


Scott Linklater, Jason Hobson, Gareth Llewellyn, Joe El Abd, Brian O’Riordan, Josh Taumalolo, Lee Robinson.  


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