Northampton Saints v Bath: Big match preview

Fixture: Northampton Saints v Bath
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Competition: Gallagher Premiership (round four)

Venue: cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton

Date and kick-off time: Saturday, November 4, 2023, 3pm

Saints edged out Bath in September (photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)Saints edged out Bath in September (photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)
Saints edged out Bath in September (photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

Weather forecast: 11c, showers

Live television coverage: PRTV

Referee: Adam Leal

Assistant referee: Hamish Grant and Jamie Leahy

No.4: James Pidding

TMO: Dean Richards

Saints: Furbank (c); Freeman, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Hendy; F Smith, James; A Waller, Langdon, Millar Mills; Moon, Coles; Scott-Young, Pearson, Ludlam.

Replacements: Cruse, E Waller, Hill, Munga, Graham, McParland, Sleightholme, Seabrook.

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Bath: de Glanville; McConnochie, Ojomoh, Redpath, Muir; Bailey, Schreuder; Obano, Annett, du Toit; McNally, Lee-Warner; Reid (c), Underhill, Coetzee.

Replacements: Dunn, Schoeman, Stuart, Ewels, Barbeary, Spencer, Harris, Hennessey.

Not considered for Saints selection: Matthew Arden, Juarno Augustus, Toby Cousins, Trevor Davison, Manny Iyogun, Tarek Haffar, Temo Mayanavanua, Burger Odendaal, James Ramm, Robbie Smith, Kayde Sylvester.

Most recent meeting: Saturday, September 30, 2023: Saints 43 Bath 42 (Premiership Rugby Cup)

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Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson: "They'll be clearly disappointed with how that (Leicester game) ended. They snuck ahead with a couple of minutes left and couldn't quite get over the line. Fair play to Leicester. They are a group that got a bit of momentum at the end of last season, started to really believe what they were doing was going to be successful. They carried that on in pre-season with Johann van Graan and they've got an unbelievable group in terms of quality.”

Bath assistant coach Lee Blackett: "I don't think last week's game has taken any confidence away from the group. I think we just feel that we should be better in certain moments. The harder thing with the Premiership this year is there's 18 games. You cannot let a game go by. That's probably why we felt really frustrated after the game. It was a game we let go. You lose three, four, five on the bounce and you are out of the competition - it's not like the old Premiership where there were 24 games, 22 games. After this weekend, we're just under a quarter of the way through the season. We've got to grasp every opportunity."

Tom Vickers’ prediction: Bath have already won at Saracens this season, and with the weather not looking too great, the away side’s pack will fancy this one. Saints will have to find a way to handle them in the set piece, and if they can do that, they will believe they can get the job done. It looks like being another tough assignment for Phil Dowson’s side, but they really need to win this. Saints 25 Bath 23.