In Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks, we have two teams with quality players from 1-15. However, whilst one side is attacking with high levels of skill and execution at the moment, the other is only firing in fits and starts, the brilliant Sam James aside.
Bristol brought out all their attacking weapons in thrashing local rivals Bath 48-3, inflicting most of the damage in a brilliant first-half performance. The Bears will do well to reach those heights again, especially as they are without destroyer-in-chief Semi Radradra and equally deadly wing, Luke Morahan.
Straight-running Siale Piutau and ex-RL star and current serving soldier, Siva Naulago, come into the line-up as a result.
New Sharks boss Alex Sanderson has selected the same backline as the one that took to the field in the win against Leicester in Round 7, and that should help them click a bit better and potentially pose more of a threat with ball in hand.
Defensively, Sale have been good for a while, and that side of their game will only get better in time with former Sanderson now running the show.
When Bristol win, as we expect them to do at Ashton Gate on Friday night, it tends to be by a double-figure margin.
But against stubborn opponents, who don’t like to yield an inch let alone a mile like Bath, and without Radradra ripping it up, they may just fail to overcome the -8 handicap.
Bristol Bears: 15. Charles Piutau; 14. Siva Naulago, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Siale Piutau, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Ioan Lloyd, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Nahual Tetaz Chaparro, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Alapati Leiua.
Sale Sharks: 15. Luke James, 14. Byron McGuigan, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Hill, 11. Marland Yarde, 10. Aj MacGinty, 9. Faf de Klerk; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Curtis Langdon, 3. Will-Griff John, 4. Josh Beaumont, 5. Cobus Wiese, 6. Jono Ross (Capt), 7. Cameron Neild, 8. Jean-Luc du Preez.
Replacements: 16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. James Philiips, 20. Sam Dugdale, 21. Will Cliff, 22. Robert du Preez, 23. Simon Hammersley.