While losing Tusi Pisi to injury for 12 weeks will be a major blow to Bristol Rugby, prop Anthony Perenise believes the squad has enough depth to cover the fly-half’s absence.
The injury to the Samoan No.10 takes the number of players unavailable because of injury at Ashton Gate up to 15 with Adrian Jarvis and Gavin Henson also ruled out.
It means the newly promoted side are having their squad severely tested in the early stages of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season but have signed the experienced Shane Geraghty from London Irish to plug one of their gaps.
And Perenise is confident the former England international’s experience can provide a much-needed boost to the squad as they continue to search for their first win of the season.
“To lose Tusi for a couple of weeks is hard for everyone but we have got young players who are coming up who are able to step in,” said the New Zealand-born prop.
“It’s a huge loss to the club but we have players who are able to play ten, some young guys who may not have as much experience but they know the game plans.
“I only met him (Shane) on Monday morning, he’s been on the pitch training – he looks fresh and he’s got great skills. He’s got great knowledge of the game and his skills and knowledge will definitely help out the boys.”
With their return to the Aviva Premiership Rugby and the Challenge Cup, Bristol will renewal their on-field rivalry with near-neighbours Bath Rugby for the first time on Thursday.
And Bath is a club that Perenise knows well from his time with them between 2011 and 2014 but the 34-year-old will be treating their European match-up just the same as any other fixture.
“European competition is a big thing for everyone but it’s just another rugby game,” he added.
“I just enjoy playing, you have the Premiership and the European Cup, but for me it’s all about playing, getting on the field and performing.
“We obviously have Bath four times this year, this is our first game, and we would love to cement a win at the Rec.
“To win against Bath, a local derby, that means a lot to the boys and the supporters.
“I have no doubt that it’s a special occasion for everyone to witness, Bath vs Bristol it’s been a while since that happened and it will be a great game.”