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Bristol Bears make nine changes for Leicester Tigers clash

Bristol Bears make nine changes for Leicester Tigers clash

Alapati Leiua returns from international duty to start on Saturday as Bristol Bears host Leicester Tigers at Ashton Gate (1pm KO).

The Samoan winger is one of nine changes to the side that suffered a narrow defeat to Wasps last weekend.

In the backline, Siale Piutau slots into midfield, while Ian Madigan and Harry Randall form a new-look half-back partnership.

In the front row, Yann Thomas returns from a dead leg, while Harry Thacker – fresh from a hat-trick at the Ricoh – also earns a start.

Joe Joyce is named in the engine room, while George Smith and former Tiger Jordan Crane come into the back row.

“We know what we need to do on Saturday to get the result and we have to be prepared to bring real energy and physicality,” said head coach Pat Lam.

“It’s about individuals doing everything they can to step up against a Leicester team who could pose us many challenges. We know that wins are crucial, so we will be focused on delivering a collective team performance at Ashton Gate.”

Bristol Bears team to face Leicester Tigers at Ashton Gate on Saturday, December 1st (1pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Will Hurrell, 12. Siale Piutau co-capt), 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Ian Madigan 9. Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Joe Joyce, 5. Aly Muldowney, 6. Steve Luatua, 7. George Smith, 8. Jordan Crane (co-capt).

Replacements: 16. Shaun Malton, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Dan Thomas, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Piers O’Conor.

Unavailable: Jordan Lay (knee), James Lay (shoulder), Jake Armstrong (ankle), Chris Vui (groin), Joe Latta (eye), Sam Jeffries (back), Joe Batley (ankle), Jack Lam (knee), Jack Tovey (knee), Luke Daniels (hamstring), Aaron Chapman (hamstring) Ryan Edwards (achilles).

Unavailable: James Dun, Will Capon, Charlie Powell (England U20s camp).

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