Bristol Bears announce Gallagher Premiership Rugby squad ahead of derby clash with Gloucester
Pat Lam has made nine changes to his Bristol Bears side ahead of another mouthwatering West Country derby clash against Gloucester at Kingsholm on Friday night.
It is the second derby game in three weeks for Bristol – who fell to defeat at the hands of Saracens last weekend – after their victory over Bath in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season opener.
Harry Randall is one of several changes made by the visitors as he lines up against his former club in his first competitive start, while Tusi Pisi and Ian Madigan also return to the backline.
Ryan Edwards is named in place of Alapati Leiua, who is unavailable for selection, while in the pack, Yann Thomas, Shaun Malton and John Afoa all come in, with Malton set for his first start in a Bears jersey.
Joe Joyce makes his maiden start of the new campaign in the engine room, alongside Chris Vui, who recovers from a groin injury.
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Head coach Lam said: “We’ve put a focus on our execution and making sure our teamwork is spot on. Gloucester have started the season strongly so that teamwork will be vital for us to compete at Kingsholm.
“We love these games; it tests us a group. When you go away from home, you have to be united as a team and there’s an excitement about Friday night.”
Bristol maintain a five forwards and three backs split on the bench, with new loan signing Zane Kirchner listed among the replacements.
Bristol Bears: 15. Piers O’Conor; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Siale Piutau, 12. Tusi Pisi, 11. Ryan Edwards; 10. Ian Madigan, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Shaun Malton, 3. John Afoa, 4. Joe Joyce, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steve Luatua (c), 7. George Smith, 8. Jack Lam.
Replacements: 16. Harry Thacker, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Nick Haining, 21. Nic Stirzaker, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Zane Kirchner.
Unavailable: Jack Cosgrove (foot), Sione Faletau (calf), Lewis Thiede (knee), Aly Muldowney (neck), John Hawkins (thumb), Joe Latta (shoulder), Tiff Eden (shoulder), Alapati Leiua (back), Jack Tovey (knee), Mat Protheroe (knee), Charles Piutau (shoulder), Luke Daniels (hamstring).