Bristol v Northampton: Teams
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says the Saints' recent form will count for nothing if they don't beat Bristol on Sunday.
Last Updated: 14/11/08 3:33pm
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the Saints' recent form will count for nothing if they don't leave Bristol with a Guinness Premiership win on Sunday.
During October Saints earned a place in the EDF Energy Cup semi-final and two wins in the European Challenge Cup.
For the Bristol tie this weekend Mallinder has again chosen to retain Stephen Myler at fly-half ahead of Carlos Spencer, and Barry Stewart has been brought in to replace Euan Murray at prop.
Meanwhile, Ben Foden moves to full-back, with Lee Dickson filling in at scrum-half and captain Bruce Reihana shifting to the wing.
With a strong team named, Mallinder has outlined his intent to first and foremost keep Northampton in the division following a disappointing start to the domestic campaign.
"Staying in the Guinness Premiership is the ultimate aim for our season and Sunday's match is key in our campaign," he said.
"Bristol have not had the best of starts but they are playing well without getting the final result.
"They have some dangerous players and we cannot go into the game with any complacency.
"We have only got two wins in the Premiership from the first five rounds and the trip to Bristol is very important to generate some momentum in the league."
Bristol head coach Richard Hill has opted for as much continuity as possible, making just three changes to his starting line up.
The one change in the back-line sees Ed Barnes return after recovering from a hamstring injury and he takes over at inside centre from Luke Eves.
Up front Robert Sidoli replaces injured compatriot Nathan Budgett in the boiler room and Alfie To'oala comes in for Matt Salter on the blind side flank.
The game also sees England international scrum-half Shaun Perry return to the squad for the first time this season after recovering from injury.
Bristol: 15 Vunga Lilo, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Neil Brew, 12 Ed Barnes, 11 David Lemi, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Graeme Beveridge, 8 Dan Ward-Smith, 7 Joe El Abd (c), 6 Alfie To'oala, 5 Robert Sidoli, 4 Roy Winters, 3 Jason Hobson, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Alex Clarke.
Replacements: 16 Scott Linklater, 17 Darren Crompton, 18 Mariano Sambucetti, 19 Iain Grieve, 20 Shaun Perry, 21 Luke Eves, 22 Mat Turner.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Chris Mayor, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana (c), 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Mark Easter, 6 Mark Hopley, 5 Christian Day, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3 Barry Stewart, 2 Paul Shields, 1 Tom Smith.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Juandre Kruger, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Alan Dickens, 21 Carlos Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt.