Bristol Bears v Northampton Saints: Full team news for Friday's Gallagher Premiership game

Archie McParland will start a Gallagher Premiership game for the first time when Saints travel to Bristol Bears on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Archie McParland scored a hat-trick against Doncaster back in October (photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images)Archie McParland scored a hat-trick against Doncaster back in October (photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images)
Archie McParland scored a hat-trick against Doncaster back in October (photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images)

The talented England Under-20s scrum-half, who only turned 19 last month, is handed the No.9 shirt in the absence of Alex Mitchell, Tom James and Callum Braley. Mitchell is rested while James and Braley have been battling injuries.

McParland became Saints’ youngest player in the professional era (at 17 years and 222 days old) when he made his professional debut against London Irish in the Premiership Rugby Cup while still in the Under-18s set-up.

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He went on to sign his first professional contract with Saints ahead of this season and he has so far racked up seven appearances for the club, scoring four tries, including a hat-trick against Doncaster Knights in October.

Jake Garside has been named on the bench as scrum-half cover, having started in that position in the exhibition match against Sale Sharks last Friday night.

George Furbank picked up a calf injury while playing for England against France last Saturday so he is unavailable, while Tommy Freeman, who also started that game in Lyon, is rested.

Alex Coles and Fin Smith return from Red Rose duty to start at lock and fly-half respectively, while centre Fraser Dingwall is also back and is named on the bench.

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Rory Hutchinson has recovered from the issue that saw him miss last weekend’s match against Sale and he starts at centre alongside Burger Odendaal.

James Ramm will be involved in a Premiership match for the first time since November as he starts on the wing after overcoming an MCL injury.

George Hendy is at full-back having recovered from his own knee issue, which was sustained in December.

Tom Seabrook is ruled out due to the injury he sustained against Sale last weekend, while Scotland prop Elliott Millar Mills is also unavailable.

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Curtis Langdon is back from his ban and able to be named among the replacements as Sam Matavesi gets the start at hooker.

Lewis Ludlam will skipper the side as part of a back row that also includes Courtney Lawes and Sam Graham.

For Bristol, Yann Thomas will make his first league appearance of the season after being named at loosehead for the Bears, with England’s Ellis Genge on the bench.

Thomas, who made his return in the friendly against Bedford Blues on March 1, is named in the front row alongside another returnee, Gabriel Oghre at hooker.

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In the back line, Noah Heward switches to full-back with Siva Naulago on the wing.

Harry Randall and AJ MacGinty continue their half-back partnership alongside a midfield of James Williams and Benhard Janse van Rensburg.

Max Malins is back from injury to take the No.23 shirt.

Bristol Bears: Heward; Naulago, van Rensburg, Williams, Ibitoye; MacGinty, Randall; Thomas, Oghre, Sinckler; Dun, Batley; Luatua, Harding ©, Bradbury.

Replacements: Davies, Genge, Lahiff, Owen, Heenan, Marmion, Ravouvou, Malins.

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Saints: Hendy; Ramm, Odendaal, Hutchinson, Sleightholme; F Smith, McParland; Iyogun, S Matavesi, Davison; Mayanavanua, Coles; Lawes, Ludlam (c), Graham.

Replacements: Langdon, A Waller, Hill, Lockett, Augustus, Garside, Dingwall, Litchfield.