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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Friday, May 17th 2019

Team news: Newcastle Falcons vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears will go in search of a Champions Cup spot when Pat Lam’s men visit Kingston Park on Saturday (4pm KO).

  • Bristol go in search of Champions Cup qualification
  • Luke Daniels and Harry Randall come into backline
  • James Lay set for first Premiership start
  • John Afoa to make 100th Premiership appearance

Victory over Newcastle Falcons in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership could see the West Country outfit achieve qualification to cap a remarkable first season back in the top flight.

Head coach Lam makes three changes from the side that drew with Sale Sharks as Luke Daniels and Harry Randall come into the backline.

“We’re all honoured as a group to have been part of the inaugural Bears squad – they’ve done the city and Bristolians proud. There’s still plenty to play for in our final game so we will give it everything.”

Head coach Pat Lam

In the only change in the pack, Samoan international James Lay is selected for his first Premiership start after an impressive string of displays from the replacements bench, while John Afoa is set to make his 100th Premiership appearance.

Lam said: “We’re focused on celebrating the work we have done all season and it’s important for the guys to acknowledge that this is the final game we will all be together before the group is disbanded.

“We’re all honoured as a group to have been part of the inaugural Bears squad – they’ve done the city and Bristolians proud. There’s still plenty to play for in our final game so we will give it everything.”

19 year old George Kloska, who has agreed terms with the Academy for the 2019/20 campaign, is set for his league debut from the replacements bench.

The SGS Filton hooker could become the youngest player to represent Bristol in the Premiership this season, with Nick Fenton-Wells unavailable as his wife is expecting their first child.

Meanwhile, Jack Lam, Tusi Pisi and George Smith could make their last outings for the club before departing in the summer.

Bristol Bears team to face Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Saturday, May 18th (4pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Alapati Leiua, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Siale Piutau (co-capt), 11. Luke Daniels; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall; 1. James Lay, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steve Luatua (co-capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nick Haining.

Replacements: 16. George Kloska, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. Jack Lam, 20. George Smith, 21. Nic Stirzaker, 22. Tusi Pisi, 23. Mat Protheroe.

Unavailable: Nick Fenton-Wells (family reasons), Tom Lindsay (illness), Shaun Malton (groin), Joe Latta (eye), Sam Jeffries (ankle), James Dun (knee), Will Hurrell (shoulder), Sam Bedlow (shoulder), Ryan Edwards (shoulder), Luke Morahan (shoulder), Aaron Chapman (knee).