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Team news: Exeter Braves vs Bristol United

Bristol United kick off the A-League campaign versus Exeter Braves on Saturday evening (5.15pm KO).

Academy coaching duo Mark Irish and Sean Marsden lead a strong team which includes nine players who are current or former Academy players.

Joe Joyce skippers the side from the second row, while new recruits Joe Batley and Sam Bedlow are also included in the starting line-up.

Callum Sheedy and Andy Uren form an exciting half back partnership and Junior Academy trio Tom Hargan, Dan Thurston and Nick English are all named.

“We’re excited about getting the A-League campaign underway against one of the strongest outfits in the country – it’s a great challenge for our players,” said Marsden.

“Obviously, everybody in the squad is eager to impress and push for a place in the first team, so Saturday is a fantastic opportunity for these young players to put in a performance.”

Bristol United are without Academy players Iwan Hughes (wrist), Jack Capon (hand), Ehize Ehizode (knee), Nick Freeman (rib), John Hawkins (knee), Matt Welsh (shoulder) and James Dun (ankle) for the opening A-League clash.

Bristol United team to face Exeter Braves at Sandy Park on Saturday, 9 September (5.15pm KO):

15. Jack Wallace; 14. Ryan Edwards, 13. Thretton Palamo, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Tom Hargan; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jack O’Connell, 2. Jordon Liney, 3. Nick English, 4. Joe Joyce (c), 5. Joe Batley, 6. Tom Pashley (Hartpury BUCS), 7. Olly Robinson, 8. Dan Thurston.

Replacements: 16. Ben Gompels (Bristol University), 17. Tom Rowland, 18. Alex Gibson (Hartpury BUCS), 19. Max Cresswell (Bristol University), 20. Dave Watchorn (Bristol University), 21. Reiss Cullen, 22. Robbie Forbes (Hartpury BUCS), 23. Maliq Holden (Hartpury BUCS).

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