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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Thursday, December 31st 2020

Team news: Bristol Bears vs Newcastle Falcons

Charles Piutau is set for his return to first team action when Bristol Bears kick off 2021 against high-flying Newcastle Falcons on Friday (3pm KO).

  • Piutau and Morahan back in 23-man squad
  • Lam makes seven changes to Bristol line-up
  • Front row reshuffle following positive Covid test

The All Black is one of seven changes to Pat Lam’s men ahead of the Gallagher Premiership encounter.

Earlier this week, Bears received their first positive result for a player since testing began in July. Despite all other players in the squad receiving negative results, the club followed Covid-19 competition protocols to isolate all front row players who featured in the Matchday squad versus Harlequins.

As a result, Peter McCabe, George Kloska and Jake Armstrong form a new look front row, with all three set for first Premiership starts.

Meanwhile, Ed Holmes, Ben Earl, Dan Thomas, Siale Piutau and Max Malins are all provided rest weeks.

Andy Uren is recalled to the backline, while Joe Joyce and Jake Heenan are also named in the starting line-up.

Bears are boosted by the return of Luke Morahan to the replacements, while Academy scholar hooker Aaron Thompson and Integrated Academy prop Andrew Turner are also named in the 23-man squad and could make competitive debuts.

Kyle Sinckler returned to camp early from mandated leave for a Covid test and then took part in today’s captains run to be listed among the replacements.

Bristol Bears team to face Newcastle Falcons at Ashton Gate on Friday, January 1st (3pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Siva Naulago, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Piers O’Conor, 11. Ioan Lloyd; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Peter McCabe, 2. George Kloska, 3. Jake Armstrong, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Nathan Hughes.

System players: 16. Aaron Thompson, 17. Andrew Turner, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. John Hawkins, 20. Fitz Harding, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Alapati Leiua, 23. Luke Morahan.

Unavailable: Bryan Byrne, Will Capon, Harry Thacker, Jake Woolmore, Yann Thomas, John Afoa, Max Lahiff, Chris Vui, Ed Holmes, Ben Earl, Dan Thomas, Chris Cook, Sam Bedlow, Siale Piutau, Henry Purdy, Max Malins.


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