The stakes could not be higher for Saracens and Bristol when they meet in a crucial Zurich Premiership relegation battle at Vicarage Road tonight.
Five top-flight clubs are still in danger of the drop as the season draws to a close, with Saracens three places but only one point ahead of their visitors.
Wayne Shelford, the Saracens coach, will not finalise his side until he gets news on the fitness of a trio of internationals. The Australian centre Tim Horan, the England scrum-half Kyran Bracken and the Fijian fly-half Nicky Little all suffered injuries in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Bath on Saturday.
The England back-row man Richard Hill and French back Thomas Castaignède, who missed the Bath game, also face checks. But the fly-half Andy Goode could be retained. A win would lift Saracens before Sunday's visit to Newcastle.
Despite being bottom, Bristol hold their fate in their own hands as all their three remaining matches are against fellow relegation-strugglers. They follow tonight's game with Sunday's West Country derby against Bath at Ashton Gate, followed by a meeting with London Irish six days later.
The Shoguns head coach, Peter Thorburn, has named a 24-man squad, welcoming back the Argentinian prop Emiliano Bergamaschi. Bergamaschi's countryman, the fly-half Felipe Contepomi, is hoping to continue his return to first-team action. Brendon Daniel, who scored his eighth Premiership try of the season against Wasps in his first league outing since January after recovering from a broken thumb, will definitely play.
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