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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Friday, January 24th 2020

Team news: Bristol Bears vs Gloucester

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

  • John Afoa back in starting line-up
  • Henry Purdy set for Bears’ Premiership debut on wing
  • Piers O’Conor recovers from knee injury to start
  • Shaun Malton listed among replacements for first time since November

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.

“Both teams like to use the ball with a lot of physicality, so it will be a good challenge and hopefully an enjoyable game for supporters."

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam

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.

The Director of Rugby said: “Both teams played great rugby in our fixtures last year and Gloucester are going really well this season too.

“We’ve seen a good improvement in the last two games from us – even though it was a draw last week, we did some good work. We’re looking forward to getting back to Ashton Gate. Both teams like to use the ball with a lot of physicality, so it will be a good challenge and hopefully an enjoyable game for supporters.”

Shaun Malton is listed among the replacements and could make his first competitive outing since November if called upon, while Ollie Dawe is named in the 23 man squad for the first time during this Premiership campaign.

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).


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