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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Friday, November 15th 2019

Team news: Bristol Bears vs Zebre Rugby

Ioan Lloyd will make his first competitive start for the club when Bristol face Zebre on Saturday (3pm KO).

  • Ioan Lloyd set for first competitive start
  • Bears make nine changes from side that beat Exeter
  • Will Capon included for first start of campaign
  • Eight current or Academy graduates in squad

The Academy fly half is one of nine changes to Pat Lam’s side as Bears kick off their European Challenge Cup campaign at Ashton Gate.

John Afoa (calf), Jake Heenan (ankle), Steven Luatua (hip) and Nathan Hughes (finger) are ruled out following the victory over Exeter Chiefs, while Luke Daniels (shoulder) will be sidelined for six months following surgery.

Toby Fricker is included in the only other change to the backline, while Yann Thomas, homegrown Will Capon and Max Lahiff form the new-look front row.

“We’re targeting the European Challenge Cup as a competition that we want to win and that starts at home – in front of our supporters – against a dangerous Zebre side."

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam

Joe Joyce and Ed Holmes are selected as the second row pairing and Dan Thomas returns to the back row following his try-scoring exploits at Sandy Park. Luke Hamilton – who joined the Bears on a short term deal in October - is set for his first competitive start for the club.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “We’re targeting the European Challenge Cup as a competition that we want to win and that starts at home – in front of our supporters – against a dangerous Zebre side.

“To be able to select such a talented, young squad with eight Academy products is a testament to the depth we have in the group and underlines our core focus on bringing homegrown players through the system and giving them opportunities to perform.

“We are focused on building a winning mindset in everything we do and the players who have been selected to represent the Bears on Saturday have the responsibility to ensure the high standards that we have set to date are built upon.”

Bears include five Academy products on the replacements bench, as Charlie Powell, James Dun and John Hawkins come into the 23-man squad, alongside Andy Uren and Callum Sheedy.

James Lay could also make his first competitive outing of the season from the bench having represented Samoa at the Rugby World Cup.

Bristol Bears team to face Zebre at Ashton Gate on Saturday, November 16th (3pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Siale Piutau (c), 11. Toby Fricker; 10. Ioan Lloyd, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Will Capon, 3. Max Lahiff, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Chris Vui, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Luke Hamilton.

Replacements: 16. Harry Thacker, 17. James Lay, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. John Hawkins, 20. James Dun, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Charlie Powell.

Unavailable: Shaun Malton (neck), Tom Lindsay (hamstring), John Afoa (calf), Jake Heenan (ankle), Nathan Hughes (finger), Steven Luatua (hip), Blake Boyland (ankle), Alapati Leiua (knee), Jack Bates (hamstring), Luke Daniels (shoulder).


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