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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Friday, December 20th 2019

Team news: Saracens vs Bristol Bears

Charles Piutau returns to the starting line-up as Bristol Bears face the Premiership champions Saracens on Saturday (3pm KO).

  • Bears make six changes for Allianz Park clash
  • Lam welcomes back Piutau, Morahan and Uren to backline
  • Thacker, Afoa and Luatua come into pack
  • Bedlow set for first Premiership start of the season

The All Black is one of six changes from the side that beat Stade Francais last weekend to maintain a 100% record in the European Challenge Cup.

Pat Lam’s men head to Allianz Park second in the top-flight and unbeaten in seven games.

The Director of Rugby welcomes back Luke Morahan and Andy Uren to the backline, while Sam Bedlow makes his first Premiership start of the season in the midfield.

“Going to Allianz Park to face a full-strength Saracens outfit is one of the biggest challenges in Europe and we know we are going to have to be on the money to come away with the victory."

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam

In the pack, John Afoa recovers from a dead leg to start, while Harry Thacker and Steven Luatua are also named.

“Going to Allianz Park to face a full-strength Saracens outfit is one of the biggest challenges in Europe and we know we are going to have to be on the money to come away with the victory,” said Lam.

“These are the sort of occasions and opportunities that we need to grow as a team. We’re excited about the challenge we face.”

Samoan international James Lay is included among the replacements, while Harry Randall returns to the 23-man squad on the bench.

Bristol Bears team to face Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday, December  21st (3pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Toby Fricker; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Joe Joyce, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. James Lay, 18. Max Lahiff, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Luke Hamilton, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Alapati Leiua.

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


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