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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, September 11th 2020

Preview: Wasps (a) - Gallagher Premiership

Bristol Bears travel to fellow top four contenders Wasps on Sunday afternoon in round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership, aiming to make it three wins on the bounce.

The Bears ran in seven tries to thrash Northampton Saints 47-10 at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night, while Lee Blackett's Wasps were also emphatic winners against Leicester Tigers on Wednesday.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Sunday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.


Match details

  • Date: Sunday, September 13th
  • Kick-off: 12.30pm
  • Competition: Gallagher Premiership
  • Where: Ricoh Arena
  • Referee: Ian Tempest (73rd Premiership game). Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley & Simon McConnell. TMO: Graham Hughes. Citing Officer: Dana Teagarden.
  • Media coverage: BT Sport app/red button

Team news

Niyi Adeolokun will make his competitive debut in a Bears jersey when Pat Lam’s men face Wasps in a top four battle on Sunday (12.30pm KO).

The winger is one of 12 changes to the side that secured maximum points in the round 19 victory over Northampton Saints.

Director of Rugby Lam includes nine Academy graduates in his matchday squad. In the backline, Chris Cook makes his first start for the club, while Jack Bates, Max Malins and Ioan Lloyd also earn call-ups.

In the pack, only Joe Joyce remains from Tuesday’s side as Bears include Academy back rower James Dun at blindside, while Keiron Assiratti makes his first start since arriving on loan.

Scrum half Tom Kessell is included amongst the replacements and could make his first outing since arriving on a short-term agreement, while Harry Ascherl could earn his Premiership debut off the bench.

Bristol Bears team to face Wasps Rugby at Ricoh Arena on Sunday, September 13th (12.30pm KO):

15. Ioan Lloyd; 14. Niyi Adeolokun, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Alapati Leiua, 11. Jack Bates, 10. Max Malins, 9. Chris Cook; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Will Capon, 3. Keiron Assiratti, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. James Dun, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Jake Heenan (c).

System players: 16. Bryan Byrne, 17. Peter McCabe,  18. John Afoa, 19. John Hawkins, 20. Mitch Eadie, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Harry Ascherl, 23. Charlie Powell.

Wasps:

15. Matteo Minozzi, 14. Zach Kibirige, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Jimmy Gopperth, 11. Josh Bassett, 10. Jacob Umaga, 9. Dan Robson; 1. Ben Harris, 2. Tom Cruse, 3. Kieran Brookes, 4. Joe Launchbury (c), 5. Will Rowlands, 6. Brad Shields, 7. Jack Willis, 8. Tom Willis

Replacements: 16. Gabriel Oghre, 17. Tom West, 18. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19. James Gaskell, 20. Thomas Young, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Ryan Mills, 23. Marcus Watson


Last time out

Bristol Bears 21-26 Wasps | Sunday, December 27th 2019 | Ashton Gate

Bristol Bears suffered a first home defeat of the season after Nizaam Carr’s last gasp try sealed a dramatic Wasps victory at Ashton Gate.

Callum Sheedy’s penalty just one minute earlier looked to have snatched it for Pat Lam’s men in front of more than 23,000 supporters, but Carr’s devastating break down the touchline sealed a bonus-point win for the visitors, leaving Bristol with no time to respond.

Earlier, a forgettable first half gave way to a frantic second, as tries from Jacob Umaga and Malakai Fekitoa were cancelled out by Charles Piutau and Harry Thacker.

Matteo Minozzi grabbed a third for Wasps, before Sheedy’s third penalty of the evening looked to have earned his side a narrow win.

But Carr dealt the killer blow in the final 60 seconds, powering and tiptoeing down the right touchline for a fine solo score, with Umaga’s conversion completing the scoring in BS3.

Read the full report here. 


Word from the camp

Chris Cook says the Bears face a formidable challenge on Sunday when they take on play-off chasing Wasps at the Ricoh Arena, but the scrum half insists it’s one they are relishing.

Back-to-back victories over Worcester Warriors and Northampton Saints have seen the Bears return to winning ways in the Gallagher Premiership – and Cook says they must be wary of a dangerous Wasps side.

Subscribe to Bristol Bears TV by clicking here. 


Form guide

Wasps have lost just one of their last nine Gallagher Premiership Rugby encounters: 11-20 at home to Sale in round 16, that defeat is Wasps only loss at Ricoh Arena in any competition since January.

Bristol Bears have lost only twice in any competition since early January, in successive Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures in August against Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks. Bristol’s only defeat in their last six away games in all tournaments was 7-40 at Sale in round 17 of Premiership Rugby.

Wasps have won their last eight Gallagher Premiership Rugby encounters with Bristol and are unbeaten against them in their last ten matches whilst their only defeat against the Bears in Premiership Rugby since 2001 was 21-26 at Memorial Stadium in September 2006. Bristol’s only previous victory at Ricoh Arena was 30-19 in the Premiership Rugby Cup in November 2018.

Bristol Bears: WWL
Wasps: LLW 


Head-to-head

Dan Thomas vs Jack Willis

Battle of the jackal at openside, as Dan Thomas faces off against England hopeful, Jack Willis at the Ricoh Arena.

Alapati Leiua vs Jimmy Gopperth

Powerful and versatile Samoan international, Alapati Leiua takes on Kiwi playmaker, Jimmy Gopperth in the midfield in a clash of styles at number 12. 


Statto's corner

  • First Gallagher Premiership starts for Ioan Lloyd, Niyi Adelolukun and Keiron Assiratti
  • Bristol’s only previous victory at Ricoh Arena was 30-19 in the Premiership Rugby Cup in November 2018

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