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Will Carpenter


Posted Friday, January 24th 2020

Preview: Gloucester (h) - Gallagher Premiership

Bristol Bears return to Gallagher Premiership action on Saturday, as they welcome Gloucester to Ashton Gate for a West Country derby.

Pat Lam's side are without a win in their last four league games, but have since booked their place in the last eight of the Challenge Cup following an unbeaten pool stage.

Gloucester failed to progress from their Champions Cup group and were beaten by French giants Toulouse last weekend, but Johan Ackermann's side have won two of their last three Premiership outings, including a derby win at home to Bath in round eight.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Gloucester at Ashton Gate.

Match details:

  • Date: Saturday, January 25th
  • Kick-off: 3pm
  • Competition: Gallagher Premiership
  • Where: Ashton Gate
  • Referee: Karl Dickson. ARs: Hamish Smales & Simon McConnell. No4: Alex Thomas, Timekeeper: Matthew Peters, TMO: Sean Davey
  • Media coverage: BT Sport, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio 5Live, Channel 5 Highlights 
  • Tickets: Click here to purchase tickets for the match.

Team news

John Afoa is passed fit to face his former side when Bristol Bears host Gloucester on Saturday (3pm KO).

The tighthead prop – who has been sidelined for two weeks – starts in the West Country derby at Ashton Gate.

Former Gloucester man Henry Purdy is set for his Premiership debut for the Bears on the wing, while Dan Thomas, Harry Randall and Dave Attwood also start against the Cherry and Whites.

Lam is boosted by the return of Chris Vui (illness) and Piers O’Conor (knee) to the starting lineup with nearly 20,000 supporters expected for the round nine clash.

Bristol Bears team to face Gloucester at Ashton Gate on Saturday, January 25th (3pm KO):

15. Luke Morahan; 14. Henry Purdy, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: 16. Shaun Malton, 17. Ollie Dawe, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Mat Protheroe.

Unavailable: Yann Thomas (achilles), James Lay (leg), Max Lahiff (shoulder), Adrian Choat (ankle), Siale Piutau (knee), Jack Bates (hamstring), Luke Daniels (shoulder), Will Hurrell (head), Charles Piutau (knee), Charlie Powell (ankle).

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Jason Woodward; 14. Tom Marshall, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Louis Rees-Zammit; 10. Owen Williams, 9. Joe Simpson 1. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Alex Craig, 5. Franco Mostert; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Lewis Ludlow (capt), 8. Ben Morgan

Replacements: Todd Gleave, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Jake Polledri, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 23. Matt Banahan

Last time out

Friday, September 27th | Bristol Bears 20-17 Gloucester | Premiership Rugby Cup

Bristol Bears held off a late Gloucester revival to record a first win of the 2019/20 campaign in Friday night’s Premiership Cup clash at Ashton Gate.

Tries five minutes into either half from Harry Thacker and Charlie Powell and ten points from the boot of Callum Sheedy sealed the deal for Pat Lam’s men, who were twice reduced to 14 men after yellow cards for Dan Thomas and Jack Bates.

Gloucester, who outscored the hosts by three tries to two through Joe Simpson, Ruan Ackermann and Gerbrandt Grobler, rallied in the closing stages to set up a nervy climax, but it was the home side who held on to take the spoils in BS3.

Read the full report here.

Word from the camp

Pat Lam expects an entertaining derby battle when Gloucester visit Ashton Gate on Saturday (3pm KO).

The Director of Rugby previewed the round nine clash as Bristol aim to get back to winning ways in the Gallagher Premiership.

Subscribe to Bristol Bears TV by clicking here.


Form guide

Bristol Bears are without a win in the last four rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby, since beating Exeter at Sandy Park on 10 November.

The Bears only defeat in their last 11 matches at Ashton Gate in all tournaments was 21-26 to Wasps in round seven of Premiership Rugby.

Gloucester Rugby have won just twice in the last six rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby although both of those have been at Kingsholm in the last three matches.

Gloucester have won only once away from home in any tournament since April: 18-16 at Sale Sharks in the opening round of this season’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

Bristol have won their last three fixtures against Gloucester, but two of those were in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

The Bears’ 28-24 victory at Ashton Gate in round 15 last season was their first win against Gloucester in the tournament since February 2008.

Bristol Bears: LWD
Gloucester Rugby: WWL


Callum Sheedy vs Owen Williams

At fly half, Callum Sheedy faces off with Gloucester's Owen Williams, who makes his first start in the Premiership for more than a year after recovering from long-term injury. 

Luke Morahan vs Jason Woodward

Luke Morahan makes the switch from wing to full back, where he goes head to head with former Bristol flyer, Jason Woodward. Woodward played for Bristol during the 2016/17 Premiership campaign. 

Statto's corner

  • Henry Purdy is set for his Gallagher Premiership debut for Bristol Bears against his former club
  • Bristol have won their last three fixtures against Gloucester, but two of those were in the Premiership Rugby Cup
  • Bristol have only lost once in their last 11 games at Ashton Gate

Match sponsor: Kelston Sparkes

The Kelston Sparkes Group was founded by Mr Kelston Sparkes in 1952. Now in its 67th year, the Kelston Sparkes Group remains a family run business, specialising in Earthworks, Earthmoving, Crushing and Screening, Quarrying and Training.