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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Friday, October 19th 2018

Preview: Zebre vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in the European Challenge Cup when they travel to Parma to take on Zebre in Pool Four on Saturday. 

Pat Lam's side ended a run of two successive defeats with a 43-22 victory over their Italian counterparts at Ashton Gate last weekend, while inflicting a fourth straight defeat on Zebre.

Here's your big match preview ahead of Saturday's clash:


Last time out:

Bristol Bears 43 Parma 22, Sat, Oct 13th 2018, Ashton Gate

We don't have to look too far back for the last meeting between the two sides - six day, actually.

An explosive first-half display saw Bristol Bears kick off their European Challenge Cup campaign in style with a seven-try 43-22 victory over Zebre at Ashton Gate.

Pat Lam’s side scored six times in an exhilarating opening 40 minutes, as they bounced back from last week’s defeat to Worcester Warriors with a bonus-point victory over their Italian counterparts in the opening round of pool fixtures.

Ryan Edwards touched down for a first-half brace, while Alapati Leiua, Nick Haining and Jake Armstrong were also on the scoresheet for Bristol, who had the bonus-point sewn up inside 22 minutes before racing into a 36-10 lead at the interval.

Eduardo Bello and Tommaso Castello gave Zebre a lifeline with tries either side of the break, but Andy Uren’s 64th-minute score illuminated an otherwise scrappy second half, before replacement Tommaso Boni grabbed a late consolation for the visitors.


Head-to-head:

Callum Sheedy

The young fly half was in imperious attacking form at Ashton Gate last weekend, causing the Zebre defence huge problems with his range of passing and line breaks. 

Sheedy gets the nod in the number ten shirt again this weekend and goes up against 29-cap Italian international, Carlo Canna.

Carlo Canna

Carlo Canna is named at fly half by head coach, Michael Bradley, and the Italian international will be looking to orchestrate a Zebre response. 

Canna, who can also operate at inside centre and full back, has 29 caps for his country and is a dangerous goal-kicker. 


Sam Jeffries

Jeffries made his first competitive start of the season at Ashton Gate last weekend, and moves from the blindside flank to the second row for the trip to Parma.

The versatile forward goes head-to-head with former Bristol player, George Biagi in the front five. 

George Biagi

Biagi spent the 2012/13 season with Bristol, making seven appearances before making the move to Zebre. 

The Scotland-born second row has 22 caps for Italy, having made his debut in 2014.


Word from the camps:

Conor McPhillips

“That’s what this block is about. We’ve spoken all summer about everyone getting a chance and the training is really competitive.

"Everyone wants to play games, and it comes back to their performance being their currency.

“So, guys will get chances and if they nail it, well then they put themselves on the selection table and that’s what all these guys are keen to do.”

Renato Giammarioli

"We worked a lot on tackle technique and drive defence: technical aspects in which Bristol put us in a bit of trouble last week in the first leg. We have worked well during the week."


Form guide:

Bristol Bears ended a run of two successive defeats with a 43-22 victory over their Italian counterparts at Ashton Gate last weekend, while inflicting a fourth straight defeat on Zebre.

The Italians struggled to get going at Ashton Gate last week, off the back of defeats three straight defeats in the Pro14. 

The bonus-point win at Ashton Gate saw Pat Lam's side bounce back from the heavy defeat to Worcester at Sixways - and a second straight win in the European Challenge Cup would put the Bears in pole position in Pool Four.

Bristol Bears: LLW
Zebre: LLL


Weather forecast

Met Office says: 

Dry, bright and warm weather awaits Bristol Bears in Parma on Saturday, with a glorious day forecast.

Maximum temperature 21 °C.


How to buy tickets:

If you're heading over to Zebre, tickets are available to purchase online now by clicking here.


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