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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Friday, December 7th 2018

Team news: Bristol Bears vs La Rochelle

Mat Protheroe will make his first competitive outing in almost a year when Bristol host La Rochelle on Saturday (3pm KO).

  • Mat Protheroe makes first competitive start this season
  • Nine changes for European Challenge Cup clash
  • Charlie Powell to make first start in Europe

The full-back, who made his come back from long-term injury in the Premiership Shield last weekend, is one of nine changes for the European Challenge Cup clash.

Highly rated England U20 and Bristol Academy winger Charlie Powell is named on the wing, while Tom Pincus, Piers O’Conor and Callum Sheedy all come into the backline.

“We’ve picked a core of young, English players for this Cup clash which supports our club vision.”

Head coach Pat Lam

In the pack, Lewis Thiede is included in the front row, while Jake Heenan, Dan Thomas and Jack Lam form a new-look back row.

Head coach Pat Lam said: “We’ve picked a core of young, English players for this Cup clash which supports our club vision.

“What a fantastic opportunity for the players who have the chance to test themselves against a quality La Rochelle side at Ashton Gate.

“We’re in a great place as a group and we’re excited to be back out on the field this weekend. It’s testament to the hard work of our RTP team that Mat [Protheroe] is back fit and ready to perform.”

Bristol Bears team to face La Rochelle at Ashton Gate on Saturday, December 8th (3pm KO):

15. Mat Protheroe; 14. Tom Pincus, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Will Hurrell, 11. Charlie Powell; 10. Callum Sheedy (co-capt), 9. Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Lewis Thiede, 4. Joe Joyce, 5. Aly Muldowney, 6. Jake Heenan (co-capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Jack Lam.

Replacements: 16. Tom Lindsay, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. John Hawkins, 20. Nick Haining, 21. Nic Stirzaker, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Alapati Leiua.

Unavailable: Jordan Lay (knee), James Lay (shoulder), Chris Vui (groin), Joe Latta (eye), Sam Jeffries (back), Joe Batley (ankle), James Dun (illness), Tiff Eden (concussion), Jack Tovey (knee), Aaron Chapman (hamstring) Ryan Edwards (Achilles), Luke Daniels (hamstring).