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Tom Tainton


Posted Thursday, December 5th 2019

Team news: Bristol Bears vs Stade Français

Ian Madigan is set for his first competitive outing since September when Bristol Bears host Stade Français on Saturday (3pm KO).

  • Ian Madigan set for first competitive outing since September
  • Bristol make six changes for Stade Francais
  • Bedlow, Randall and Leiua come into backline
  • Attwood and Heenan selected in pack

The Ireland fly half is one of six changes to the side as Pat Lam’s men to continue their 100% record in the competition.

Sam Bedlow comes into the midfield, while Alapati Leiua makes his first competitive start of the campaign on the wing.

Siale Piutau (knee) will be sidelined for up to five months following an injury sustained in the draw with London Irish, while Dan Thomas (groin) is expected to be unavailable for five weeks.

“We’re in a different competition, but the priority focus is to improve on areas in our game from week to week – that’s a big driver for us."

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam

In the pack, Jake Heenan recovers from an ankle injury to start in the back row and Dave Attwood returns to the side.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “We’re in a different competition, but the priority focus is to improve on areas in our game from week to week – that’s a big driver for us.

“We’ve made changes at the half back positions this week, following an excellent discussion and review process after London Irish.

“Callum [Sheedy] and Andy [Uren] are two young players who have been outstanding for us and are key men for the team going forward. They were the first to acknowledge that they fell below their high standards last weekend and have a chance now to work on their game and come back stronger.

“It’s an opportunity for Mads and Harry to step up, as well as Nic on the bench. For us to be the team we strive to be, competition is key to drive high performance and the standards we want.”

Nicky Thomas is included in the 23-man squad for the first time since October, while Nic Stirzaker is also named. Jordan Lay is set for his first competitive outing of the campaign from the bench.

Bristol Bears team to face Stade Francais at Ashton Gate on Saturday, December 7th (3pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Ian Madigan, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. Jordan Lay, 18. Nicky Thomas, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Luke Hamilton, 21. Nic Stirzaker, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Toby Fricker.

Unavailable: Shaun Malton (neck), Yann Thomas (achilles), Lewis Thiede (neck), Dan Thomas (groin), Blake Boyland (ankle), Siale Piutau (knee), Jack Bates (hamstring), Luke Daniels (shoulder).