Bristol Bears announce team to face Zebre Rugby
Bristol Bears launch their European Challenge Cup campaign at Ashton Gate on Saturday (3pm KO).
With Italian PRO14 outfit Zebre arriving in BS3, Pat Lam makes twelve changes from the side that suffered defeat to Worcester.
Only Alapati Leiua, Siale Piutau and Will Hurrell remain in the line-up from last weekend, while Tom Pincus is set for his first competitive start for the club.
In a new-look pack, Jake Woolmore and Jake Armstrong make first competitive starts, while Joe Batley is set for his first competitive outing since returning from serious illness.
Sam Jeffries and Dan Thomas start for the first time this season, having featured from the bench at Sixways.
“We’re excited to get back on the pitch at Ashton Gate. We’ve rotated the squad and given opportunities to some players this afternoon – and we know that Zebre will provide a huge challenge,” said Lam.
“The boys are under no illusions – if we are not on our game again, and if we’re not collective as a team, we’ll get exposed. It’s going to be an exciting game of rugby.”
Tom Lindsay, Jake Heenan and Sam Bedlow are included among the replacements for the first time during the campaign.
Bristol Bears team to face Zebre at Ashton Gate on Saturday, October 13th (3pm KO):
15. Tom Pincus; 14. Ryan Edwards, 13. Will Hurrell, 12. Siale Piutau (c), 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Nic Stirzaker; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Shaun Malton, 3. Jake Armstrong, 4. Joe Latta, 5. Joe Batley, 6. Sam Jeffries, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nick Haining.
Replacements: 16. Tom Lindsay, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. John Afoa, 19. Jake Heenan, 20. George Smith, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Tusi Pisi.
Unavailable: Harry Thacker (neck), Sione Faletau (calf), Lewis Thiede (knee), Aly Muldowney (neck), Chris Vui (groin), John Hawkins (thumb), Ed Holmes (thumb), Jordan Crane (hamstring), Tiff Eden (shoulder), Jack Tovey (knee), Mat Protheroe (knee), Charles Piutau (shoulder), Luke Daniels (hamstring), Piers O’Conor (foot), Aaron Chapman (hamstring), Luke Morahan (groin).