Saints are well aware of Bath's bench power

Chris Boyd knows Bath will have plenty of firepower in reserve at Franklin's Gardens this evening.

By Tom Vickers
Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 7:00 am
Ben Spencer is on the Bath bench this evening
Ben Spencer is on the Bath bench this evening

The Saints boss has made wholesale changes to his side as the black, green and gold continue with their two-team strategy during a hectic fixture schedule.

And Bath have also opted to swap most of their first 15 from the one which won comfortably at Leicester Tigers last weekend.

Stars such as Anthony Watson, Sam Underhill and Taulupe Faletau won't be involved at the Gardens.

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But others like Ben Spencer and Ruaridh McConnochie will be as they are among the replacements.

And Boyd said: "The first thing that stands out for me is how strong their bench is. Seven regular starters are on their bench.

"We know players are not allowed to start in all three games in a week and they've had to make a choice with some of their players with Wasps at home for them on Monday.

"They've picked a mixture, as we have done, but with a much stronger bench."

Saints won 27-3 at London Irish last weekend and will go back to the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday to face Harlequins.

That fixture is likely to see them revert to the majority of the team that beat Irish.

And Boyd said: "With weeks where you've got four or five-day turnarounds, if you can pick two completely different teams it gives you an eight or a nine-day turnaround.

"We picked a green and a gold side about six weeks ago and by and large they are still intact.

"As an example, the team that is likely to play against Harlequins on Sunday trained on Tuesday morning for Harlequins and the other team trained for Bath.

"They train against each other in whatever capacity is neccessary and it means we've got a nice turnaround.

"We've got another group of players who have been acting as the bench group.

"We're only able to do it because we've got a fairly flat squad - there's not a lot of difference between a lot of our players."

And Boyd added: "It really depends on whether you feel you need continuity around preparation and training to get the result at the weekend.

"Every situation is different and every director of rugby will be sitting there thinking about how to get the best out of their team.

"You look at some of the teams that have been announced during the past couple of days and they have no starting players.

"Some have gone A team, some have gone 'bomb squad' and others have gone a mixture.

"Everyone's going with what they think is most appropriate for their own cattle."