Nabaro connection bolsters Bristol's line-up

Click to follow

Traditionally it is the bride who is nervous on her wedding night, but last night a whole club was left on tenterhooks following the marriage of Bristol's Fijian winger Luke Nabaro to his English fiancée, Samantha Janness.

Traditionally it is the bride who is nervous on her wedding night, but last night a whole club was left on tenterhooks following the marriage of Bristol's Fijian winger Luke Nabaro to his English fiancée, Samantha Janness.

The wedding confers English nationality on Nabaro, freeing the club to play their two Argentinian backs Felipe Contepomi and Eduardo Simone. Yesterday the club faxed the marriage certificate to Twickenham, only to discover that they needed a copy of the bride's birth certificate. There followed frantic phone calls to track down the piece of paper.

The club's gamble in naming Nabaro and the two Pumas in the same side paid off when Twickenham confirmed that Nabaro was a fully fledged Englishman for the purposes of playing in the Zurich Premiership at any rate. Bristol's captain Agustin Pichot, another Argentinian qualifies by virtue of holding a European passport.

Bath are without Jerry Guscott so the youngster Sam Cox makes his first Premiership start alongside Kevin Maggs. In addition to the England internationals, the coach Jon Callard is also without Angus Gardiner, who could be out for up to six weeks after suffering ligament damage to a knee.

Bristol have not beaten Bath in a league match since 1987 - their record reads played 17, drawn one. But today's clash represents their best chance of a victory with nine Bath regulars absent in all.

At Sale, the lock Andy Whittle returns against Harlequins a fortnight after being carried off the field at Bath with a neck injury which had rendered him paralysed down one side for a few anxious hours.

Steve Hanley returns to the Sale right wing after missing the last five matches and Charlie Hodgson is preferred at fly-half to Niki Little. The London side give the former Scotland international Craig Chalmers his first start, following his debut as a replacement against Leicester last week, while Tani Fuga takes over from the hooker Keith Wood who has failed to shake off a chest infection.

At Welford Road Leicester take on Gloucester. The Tigers have not lost at home in the competition since slipping up against Newcastle in December 1997. And since the start of the League they have lost just 12 matches - five to Harlequins.

The task facing Gloucester, who will be led by the prop Andy Deacon after Kingsley Jones pulled out with a hamstring problem, is a tough one, even though the Tigers are without England trio Martin Johnson, Neil Back and Martin Corry.

Comments