Hill expects full-blooded approach

Bristol boss Richard Hill insists complacency will not be an issue when his Guinness Premiership pacesetters tackle struggling Harlequins at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Bristol boss Richard Hill insists complacency will not be an issue when his Guinness Premiership pacesetters tackle struggling Harlequins at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday.

Unbeaten Bristol are 14 points above Quins, who have lost all six league and cup games since returning to top-flight English rugby this term.

The form guide suggests a bonus point triumph for Hill’s team, whose victories over Wasps, London Irish and Worcester last month proved in stark contrast to a prolonged Quins struggle.

Hill fields 14 of the side that accounted for Wasps, but he maintains Quins, whose international centres Stuart Abbott and Hal Luscombe both miss out through injury, will pose a serious threat.

"They have had bad luck in terms of their fixture list," he said, recalling Quins’ early Premiership appointments with London Irish, Gloucester, Wasps and Leicester.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

"Any team coming up into the Premiership would not have wanted the fixtures they had to start with.

"They have got a very good squad and I know they had high expectations after coming up, so will be a bit disappointed they haven’t got that first win yet.

"For us, topping the table in mid-October means nothing really.

"We are treating this game the same way as we do all the others. We are ignoring our respective league positions, and we will just go out with the same relaxed attitude that we’ve had before.

"We have been conscious of nipping any complacency in the bud, and we’ve prepared very thoroughly for this one."

Quins’ last victory at Bristol was more than eight years ago, while the west country club know another win would keep them top going into a fortnight’s break for European action.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Saracens rugby director Alan Gaffney can find no place in his match-day 22 for rugby league recruit Andy Farrell, who is enduring a difficult season after recovering from months of injury misery.

"We have picked what we think is the best team available to get a win against Bath," said Gaffney, who has targeted the lineout and ball retention as key areas for improvement this weekend.

Bath field Olly Barkley for his first start since suffering a groin injury three weeks ago, while champions Sale Sharks welcome back the likes of Charlie Hodgson, Jason Robinson, Andrew Sheridan and Chris Jones against Madejski Stadium hosts London Irish.

Previous story Irish up to the task
Next story White wants new boys to shine
Download