Pat Lam ready for more after Bristol Bears solid start leaves coach looking up the table rather than down

Pat Lam ready for more after Bristol Bears\ solid start leaves coach looking up the table rather than down

Painter and Burrell return for Northampton Saints in Bristol

Bristol make two changes for the visit of Northampton as the Bears aim to continue their unbeaten home start.

Jack Lam replaces the injured Jordan Crane at number eight, while second row Joe Latta has recovered from a shoulder problem to start in place of Chris Vui.

Bristol Bears v Northampton Saints team news: Two injury enforced changes

Saints also make two changes with centre Luther Burrell and tight-head Ehren Painter returning to the side.

Northampton have won their last five matches in all competitions against Bristol, dating back to November 2008.

Bristol: OConor; Morahan, Hurrell, Piutau, Leiua; Madigan, Uren; Thomas, Thacker, Afoa, Holmes, Latta, Luatua (capt), Smith, Lam.

Northampton: Tuala; Collins, Burrell, Francis, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (co-capt), Hartley (co-capt), Painter, Ribbans, Lawes, Gibson, Ludlam, Harrison.

Ehren Painter and Luther Burrell are both recalled into Northampton Saints starting line-up for this weekends trip to Ashton Gate to face Bristol Bears.

After visiting Bath Rugby last Saturday, the men in Black, Green and Gold are back in the West Country for a 3pm kick-off in round five of Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

The Bears have not lost on home soil since March, but Northampton have won their last five matches against Bristol in all competitions dating back to November 2008 and will look to keep that record intact this weekend.

Director of rugby Chris Boyd makes two changes to his starting XV after the narrowest of defeats in Bath last weekend, bringing centre Luther Burrell back into the midfield to join Piers Francis and Ehren Painter into the front row alongside co-captains Alex Waller and Dylan Hartley.

Saints back three of Tom Collins, Taqele Naiyaravoro, and Ahsee Tuala continue together, while Cobus Reinach and Dan Biggar make their fifth straight starts in the half-back positions.

Saints engine room will not be short of height with towering locks David Ribbans and Courtney Lawes continuing, while Teimana Harrison keeps hold of the No.8 jersey with Jamie Gibson and Lewis Ludlam either side of him after both flankers impressed in torrential conditions at Bath.

Amongst the replacements, Andrew Kellaway is named again after making his Saints debut last weekend, with the likes of Harry Mallinder, Mitch Eadie, Alex Mitchell and Api Ratuniyarawa all also looking to make an impact off the bench.

“[Bristol] are different from most Premiership teams,” Boyd commented. “They’re very optimistic, they’re happy to play in deep territory, they’re happy to play behind the gain line and that means you’ve got to be really vigilant.

“They’re also very aggressive defensively so they pose not a normal Premiership challenge but something different. And I think what they’re doing, they’re doing pretty well.

“We’ve talked about the fact that we need to just keep concentrating on our own performance, find a bit of steel from somewhere, and get what we want to do right.”

15 Ahsee Tuala 14 Tom Collins 13 Luther Burrell 12 Piers Francis 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro 10 Dan Biggar 9 Cobus Reinach

1 Alex Waller (co-captain) 2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain) 3 Ehren Painter 4 David Ribbans 5 Courtney Lawes 6 Jamie Gibson 7 Lewis Ludlam 8 Teimana Harrison

16 Mike Haywood 17 Francois Van Wyk 18 Ben Franks 19 Api Ratuniyarawa 20 Mitch Eadie 21 Alex Mitchell 22 Andrew Kellaway 23 Harry Mallinder

Dom Barrow (hamstring), Alex Coles (knee), James Craig (concussion), Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee), Toby Trinder (foot), Ken Pisi (shoulder), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), James Haskell (ankle), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), and Andy Symons (knee).

Bristol at web:


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