Match Preview: Saracens v Bristol Bears

Match Preview: Saracens v Bristol Bears

Saracens are aiming to make it five wins on the bounce in Gallagher Premiership Rugby when they face Bristol Bears.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall has made four changes to the starting line-up for the visit of the Bears, with two up front and two to the back-line.

Jake Heenan will make his 100th competitive appearance for Bristol Bears. The long-serving back row forward starts at blindside in north-west London, with skipper Fitz Harding switching to No.8 and Dan Thomas taking the number seven shirt.

Max Malins starts at full-back against his former side, while Rich Lane is named on the wing alongside Gabriel Ibitoye.

TV: Live on PRTV, 3pm kick-off

Referee: Luke Pearce (142nd game)

Assistant Referees: Gareth Holsgrove & Simon Harding

TMO: Rowan Kitt

Saracens Men team to play Bristol Bears: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Tom Parton, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Aled Davies; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Christian Judge, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Hugh Tizard, 6 Tom Willis, 7 Andy Christie, 8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Theo McFarland, 20 Toby Knight, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Olly Hartley, 23 Sean Maitland

Bristol Bears: 15. Max Malins, 14. Gabriel Ibitoye, 13. Virimi Vakatawa, 12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11. Rich Lane, 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall, 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Gabriel Oghre, 3. Kyle Sinckler), 4. James Dun, 5. Joe Batley, 6. Jake Heenan, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Fitz Harding (c).

System players: 16. Harry Thacker, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. George Kloska, 19. Josh Caulfield, 20. Paddy Pearce, 21. Kieran Marmion, 22. James Williams, 23. Kalaveti Ravouvou

Oval Insights


  • Between them, Tom Parton and Ivan van Zyl made seven clean breaks against Harlequins. Parton also made the second-most metres in Round 6 (123) and scored a try.
  • Juan Martin Gonzalez made more successful tackles than any other player in Round 6, a total of 24. He also made three offloads and scored a try.
  • Saracens have scored more maul tries this season than any other team (five). They have also made an average of 23.5 maul metres per 80 minutes – the second-highest in the league.
  • Saracens are the most efficient team in the Premiership in the opposition 22: they have scored a league high average of 3.3 points per red zone entry.

Bristol Bears

  • Against Bath, Virimi Vakatawa made a round-high five offloads and two clean breaks. His total of nine offloads this season is the joint-highest in the league.
  • Rich Lane and Gabriel Ibitoye have made the second and third most carry metres in the league so far: 336 and 329 respectively.
  • Harry Randall has made more kicks in play (85) and kick in play metres (2,615) than any other Premiership player.
  • Bristol Bears have the highest lineout success rate in the league (92.8%) but have won fewer scrum penalties than any other team (eight).

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