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Author

Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Friday, March 29th 2019

Team news: La Rochelle vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears turn their attentions to knockout rugby as the European Challenge Cup quarter finals get underway on Sunday (12.45pm KO GMT).

  • Bristol target Challenge Cup semi-final
  • Lam makes eight changes to Bears side
  • Tusi Pisi to make first start since January
  • Aly Muldowney returns from knee injury

Pat Lam’s men travel to France to face La Rochelle at Stade Marcel Deflandre, having beaten their Top 14 counterparts 13-3 in the pool stages.

Bristol make eight changes from the side that suffered defeat in the Gallagher Premiership last weekend.

“This is genuine knockout rugby and – as with every game for the remainder of the season – it’s a massive game and we need a finals rugby mindset.”

Head coach Pat Lam

In the backline, Tusi Pisi returns for his first outing since January, while Ian Madigan and Andy Uren are also named.

Yann Thomas and Harry Thacker come into the front row, as Aly Muldowney recovers from a knee injury to start.

Dan Thomas and Nick Haining are selected in the back row, while James Lay and George Smith are listed among the replacements.

Head coach Lam said: “This is genuine knockout rugby and – as with every game for the remainder of the season – it’s a massive game and we need a finals rugby mindset.

“Bringing Tusi [Pisi] and George [Smith] back into the 23-man squad gives us that big game experience which could prove crucial on Sunday.

“It was an unbelievable atmosphere last time we were there and the boys did well to handle that environment. We know we’ll have a massive travelling support and that’s a fantastic boost for us.”

Bristol Bears team to face La Rochelle at Stade Marcel Deflandre on Sunday, March 31st (12.45pm KO GMT):

15. Piers O’Conor; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Siale Piutau (co-capt), 12. Tusi Pisi, 11. Tom Pincus; 10. Ian Madigan, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Lewis Thiede, 4. Aly Muldowney, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steve Luatua (co-capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nick Haining.

Replacements: 16. Nick Fenton-Wells, 17. James Lay, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. George Smith, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Luke Daniels.

Unavailable: Will Capon (shoulder), Shaun Malton (groin), John Afoa (foot), Jake Woolmore (ankle), Joe Latta (eye), Joe Joyce (ankle), John Hawkins (elbow), James Dun (knee), Will Hurrell (shoulder), Ryan Edwards (shoulder), Alapati Leiua (suspension), Charles Piutau (calf).


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