Banner image

Author

Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, November 30th 2018

Preview: Bristol Bears vs Leicester Tigers

Bristol Bears welcome Leicester Tigers to Ashton Gate on Saturday (1pm KO) looking to bounce back from successive narrow defeats in the Gallagher Premiership.

Pat Lam's side fell short of pulling off a remarkable comeback against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena last weekend, fighting back from 32-7 down to earn two losing bonus points. Geordan Murphy's Tigers were edged out 27-22 by reigning champions, Saracens.

Here's everything you need to know about Saturday's clash.


Team news

Bristol Bears: 15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Will Hurrell, 12. Siale Piutau (cc), 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 (cc).
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.

Leicester Tigers: 15.Jonah Holmes, 14. Adam Thompstone, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Kyle Eastmond, 11. Jonny May, 10. George Ford (c), 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Jake Kerr, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Will Spencer, 5. Graham Kitchener, 6. Mike Williams, 7. Brendon O’Connor, 8. Sione Kalamafoni.
Replacements: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. Facundo Gigena, 18. Gaston Cortes, 19. Harry Wells, 20. Mike Fitzgerald, 21. Ben White, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Matt Smith.


Last time out:

Leicester Tigers 50-17 Bristol Rugby - Sat, 18th Feb 2017, Welford Road

Bristol Rugby fell to a third successive Aviva Premiership defeat as they were put to the sword by a rampant Leicester Tigers side at Welford Road on Saturday afternoon.

Aaron Mauger's side ran in eight tries to seal a bonus-point win, with JP Pietersen scoring twice and Adam Thompstone, Telusa Veainu, Pat Cilliers, Greg Bateman, Brandon O'Connor and Owen Williams also crossing for the hosts.

Rob Hawkins and Jamal Ford-Robinson scored consolation tries for Bristol either side of half time, with Jason Woodward adding two conversions and a penalty.


Head-to-head:

George Smith

Smith was Bristol's game-changer during the second-half at the Ricoh Arena last week, combining with hat-trick hero, Harry Thacker to provide the spark Pat lam's side needed to mount a fightback.

The experienced number seven makes his first start for three weeks at Ashton Gate and goes head-to-head with Brendan O'Connor on the open-side. 

Brendan O'Connor

Fresh from a brace during last weekend’s narrow defeat to Saracens, O’Connor retins the number seven shirt for Saturday’s clash.

O’Connor was a World Junior Championship winner with New Zealand Under-20s and captained Canterbury’s Colts team in 2011 before making two appearances for the Crusaders in 2012 as part of their Wider Training Group.


Ian Madigan

Madigan returns to the fold following a short-term injury layoff to take the number ten shirt for Saturday's clash.

The Irish fly-half was the leading points scorer in the GKIPA Championship last season and made a promising start to the Gallagher Premiership season, kicking 15 point during the 20-13 victory over Harlequins at Ashton Gate.

George Ford

Ford returns to the Tigers team following the Autumn internationals, and Geordan Murphy has wasted little time in reintroducing the England number ten. 

Despite missing three weeks on international duty, Ford is the league's leading points scorer with 94 points already in the 2018/19 campaign.


Word from the camps:

Pat Lam

“Leicester have got the history, they’ve got the reputation. When you look at them at this time of year, their whole game is based traditionally around physicality. So, that’s a great challenge for our boys.

“It’s another good crowd expected, and we love being at home, but ultimately, we understand the challenge we face."

Geordan Murphy

“The internationals are happy to be back home and into their usual routine, and they will give us some fresh impetus at this point in the season.

“Tom Youngs has picked up an injury but Jake Kerr has been very good for us, he has a good engine, he’s hungry to improve and is learning all the time from the coaching team and the players around him.”


Form guide:

Bristol Bears have won only once in Gallagher Premiership Rugby since the opening weekend, at home to Harlequins in Round Four.

The Bears have lost only twice at Ashton Gate in any competition since March: both in Premiership Rugby, 40-45 to Northampton in Round Five and 29-31 to Exeter in Round Seven.

Leicester Tigers have lost their last two Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches, against Gloucester and Saracens, but have not lost three in a row since the end of 2017. The Tigers only ‘away’ win in Premiership Rugby this season was against Northampton at Twickenham on October 6th.

The Tigers have won their last seven fixtures against Bristol since the Bears’ 30-13 victory at Ashton Gate in April 2007. Leicester have twice before visited Ashton Gate, losing there in 2007 but gaining a 21-16 victory in November 2016.

Bristol Bears: WLL
Leicester Tigers: LLL


Weather forecast

Met Office says: 

After a wet start, rain will gradually ease. It should be largely dry and cloudy by the afternoon, although rain will arrive again from the west during the evening. Maximum temperature 14 °C


How to buy tickets:

Tickets are available to purchase online now by clicking here, or via supporter services on 0117 963 0600.


Latest News

Jac Lloyd named in Wales U20 squad for Six Nations

Jac Lloyd named in Wales U20 squad for Six Nations

Posted: Thursday, January 27th 2022

Premiership Cup derby fixtures on sale now

Premiership Cup derby fixtures on sale now

Posted: Wednesday, January 26th 2022

Community Foundation February half-term camps

Community Foundation February half-term camps

Posted: Wednesday, January 26th 2022

BBC Sport to stream Bears Women versus Saracens

BBC Sport to stream Bears Women versus Saracens

Posted: Wednesday, January 26th 2022

Also from Bristol Sport

📣 Klose joins City
Football icon

📣 Klose joins City

City have completed the signing of Swiss defender Timm Klose.

Posted: Thursday, January 27th 2022 • Football

🎙 Press conference: Fleming meets the media
Football icon

🎙 Press conference: Fleming meets the media

Curtis Fleming met the press today to preview Saturday’s away match at Preston North End (3pm).

Posted: Thursday, January 27th 2022 • Football

🎙 Press conference: O'Leary talks with the media
Football icon

🎙 Press conference: O'Leary talks with the media

Max O'Leary looked ahead to Saturday's match against Preston North End.

Posted: Thursday, January 27th 2022 • Football

🎥 'I'm going to give everything for the club' - Klose
Football icon

🎥 'I'm going to give everything for the club' - Klose

Timm Klose speaks to Robins TV about his excitement to join up with Nigel Pearson's side and how he wants to prove his capabilities in BS3.

Posted: Thursday, January 27th 2022 • Football

Partners announced for Break The Cycle 2022
Cycling icon

Partners announced for Break The Cycle 2022

Partners for the Bristol Sport group’s annual fundraiser, Break The Cycle have been announced.

Posted: Thursday, January 27th 2022 • Cycling