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Will Carpenter


Posted Friday, January 11th 2019

Preview: Enisei STM vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears make the long trip to Sochi to take on Enisei-STM in the European Challenge Cup.

Pat Lam's side head to Russia with their hopes of a quarter-final still very much alive, as they prepare for back-to-back matches against Pool Four's bottom side.

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

Team news

Bristol Bears: 15. Mat Protheroe; 14. Tom Pincus, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Luke Daniels; 10. Callum Sheedy (co-capt), 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Nick Fenton-Wells, 3. Jake Armstrong, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Nick Haining, 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Jordan Crane (co-capt).

Replacements: 16. Harry Thacker, 17. Ollie Dawe, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. John Hawkins, 20. Sam Graham, 21. Nic Stirzaker, 22. Tiff Eden, 23. Charlie Powell.

Enisei-STM: 15. Timur Maslov, 14. Mikhail Babaev, 13. Sergey Trishin, 12. Dmitrii Gerasimov, 11. Denis Simplikevich, 10. Ramil Gaisin, 9. Alexey Shcherban; 1. Sergey Sekisov, 2. Shamil Magomedov, 3. Innokentiy Zykov, 4. Uldis Saulite, 5. Evgeny Elgin, 6. Mikheil Gachechiladze, 7. Andrey Temnov, 8. Maxim Gargalic.

Replacements: 16. Shalva Mamukashvili, 17. Andrei Polivalov, 18. Evgenii Pronenko, 19. Dmitrii Krotov, 20. Roman Biakov, 21. Efim Riabischuk, 22. Aleksei Mikhaltsov, 23. Vitalii Orlov.

Word from the camps:

Conor McPhillips

"Enisei, having played them before and watching them recently, you can never get away from how physical they are. They are big men, they are athletes, they thrive on collisions and love the physicality, but what’s pleasing for us is that there’s a quarter final in reach and we can control that.

"So, the key focus is that we win these two games and we aim for the bonus-point. But, back-to-back games are exciting and it’s always a challenge – do you change a lot, or keep it the same? And it’s the same for the opposition."

Form guide:

Bristol Bears last outing in the European Challenge Cup saw them battle to a memorable away win at La Rochelle, thanks to Jordan Crane's second-half try and two Callum Sheedy penalties. 

Following that result, Pat Lam's side travelled to Manchester where they suffered a 27-10 defeat at the hands of Sale Sharks.

But they returned to winning ways the next week, with Tom Pincus' 77th-minute try earning a bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons at a jam-packed Ashton Gate.

On the flip-side, Enisei are without a win in this year's Challenge Cup, having suffered home and away defeats to La Rochelle and Zebre.

Bristol Bears: LWL
Enisei-STM: LLL

Weather forecast

Met Office says: 

Heavy rain forecast throughout Saturday afternoon in Sochi. Maximum temperature 9°C.

How to follow the game:

Follow live score updates on the official Bristol Bears Twitter feed: @BristolBears