One team on the up and another on the way down; it’s difficult to look beyond anything other than a home win when Bristol Bears (available at 10/11 with a h’cap of -5) take on Northampton Saints on Friday night, live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm.
Bristol lose precious few games at Ashton Gate, and, in 2020, Saints win precious few games, full stop. They have lost their last nine in all competitions.
The transformation of Saints from top-four contenders to the Premiership’s fall guys after the restart is only beaten by Pumas captain Pablo Matera in terms of being king of the world one minute and rock bottom the next.
While Saints came away from Sale with their heads held high after a battling defeat in round one, any gains they made there were undone by their 49-29 hammering at the hands of Quins last week.
If Quins can do that to Saints, just think what damage Bristol can do even without stars like Semi Radradra, Callum Sheedy and injured duo, Luke Morahan and Charles Piutau.
While the forecasted wet weather puts a slight dampener on things, points have never been hard to come by in this fixture with four of the five matches aggregating 50 points or more. On Northampton’s last visit, there were 85!
Selected at full-back, Henry Purdy should get plenty of ball kicked to him and the former Gloucester man will be desperate to impress whilst more celebrated team-mates are absent.
We can see Purdy getting on the end of one of Bristol’s wide-wide plays, while replacement scrum-half, Harry Randall, is likely to get a good half-an-hour from the bench and will fancy his chances of sliding over against a tiring Saints defence with one of his sniping runs.
Randall (11/4 anytime try-scorer) should get enough game time to give himself the best possible chance of getting on the scoresheet as Andy Uren, the starting nine, is making his first appearance of the campaign after injury and is unlikely to play anywhere near the full 80.