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Team news: USA Perpignan vs Bristol Bears - CC R1

AJ MacGinty starts at fly-half for Bristol Bears' opening European Challenge Cup pool fixture against Perpignan at Stade Aimรฉ Giral on Friday (9pm KO).

  • AJ MacGinty starts at fly half
  • Joe Jenkins comes into the midfield
  • Elliott Stooke set for debut off the bench

The USA international partners Will Porter at half-back, while in the midfield thereโ€™s a first European appearance for Academy centre Joe Jenkins.

The 19-year-old lines up alongside Semi Radradra, who marked his return from injury with a fourth minute try against Leicester Tigers, while in the back three, Luke Morahan is back from injury to join the in-form Gabriel Ibitoye and Charles Piutau.

Up front, Yann Thomas starts at loosehead alongside hooker Harry Thacker and Max Lahiff, with Joe Batley and Chris Vui continuing in the second row.

Fitz Harding returns at number eight, with Jake Heenan and skipper Steven Luatua completing the back row.

Among the system players, Elliott Stooke is set for his Bears debut while there is a welcome return from injury for Ioan Lloyd.

Bristol Bears team to face USA Perpignan in the European Challenge Cup (9pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau (71 apps), 14. Luke Morahan (107 apps), 13. Semi Radradra (39 apps), 12. Joe Jenkins (4 apps), 11. Gabriel Ibitoye (4 apps), 10. AJ MacGinty (10 apps), 9. Will Porter (5 apps); 1. Yann Thomas (96 apps), 2. Harry Thacker (85 apps), 3. Max Lahiff (52 apps), 4. Joe Batley (27 apps), 5. Chris Vui (102 apps), 6. Steven Luatua (c) (101 apps), 7. Jake Heenan (79 apps), 8. Fitz Harding (38 apps).

System players: 16. Jake Kerr (24 apps), 17. Jake Woolmore (119 apps), 18. Jay Tyack (5 apps), 19. Elliott Stooke (debut), 20. Dan Thomas (117 apps), 21. Tom Whiteley (12 apps), 22. Callum Sheedy (143 apps), 23. Ioan Lloyd (65 apps).

Unavailable: Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Bryan Byrne, Will Capon, Ed Holmes, Joe Joyce, Morgan Eames, Joe Owen, Sam Jeffries, Sam Lewis, Magnus Bradbury, Harry Randall, Andy Uren, Sam Bedlow, Siva Naulago, Toby Fricker, Jack Bates, Noah Heward.


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