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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Friday, September 11th 2020

Team news: Wasps vs Bristol Bears

Niyi Adeolokun will make his competitive debut in a Bears jersey when Pat Lam’s men face Wasps in a top four battle on Sunday (12.30pm KO).

  • Niyi Adeolokun set for competitive debut
  • First starts for Cook and Assiratti
  • Nine Academy graduates in matchday squad
  • Ascherl and Kessell could feature off the bench for first time

The winger is one of 12 changes to the side that secured maximum points in the round 19 victory over Northampton Saints.

Director of Rugby Lam includes nine Academy graduates in his matchday squad. In the backline, Chris Cook makes his first start for the club, while Jack Bates, Max Malins and Ioan Lloyd also earn call-ups.

In the pack, only Joe Joyce remains from Tuesday’s side as Bears include Academy back rower James Dun at blindside, while Keiron Assiratti makes his first start since arriving on loan.

“Most importantly, our true Bears culture is about one team and we have selected a group that we believe can compete and win.”

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam

Lam said: “With four games in 14 days ending with a European Quarter Final next Friday, it’s important to ensure we do what is best for the players and the team. These guys aren’t robots – the schedule takes a big physical load and everyone needs the opportunity to recover so they can be at their best for the Bears.

“Most importantly, our true Bears culture is about one team and we have selected a group that we believe can compete and win.”

Scrum half Tom Kessell is included amongst the replacements and could make his first outing since arriving on a short-term agreement, while Harry Ascherl could earn his Premiership debut off the bench.

Bristol Bears team to face Wasps Rugby at Ricoh Arena on Sunday, September 13th (12.30pm KO):

15. Ioan Lloyd; 14. Niyi Adeolokun, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Alapati Leiua, 11. Jack Bates, 10. Max Malins, 9. Chris Cook; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Will Capon, 3. Keiron Assiratti, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. James Dun, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Jake Heenan (c).

System players: 16. Bryan Byrne, 17. Peter McCabe,  18. John Afoa, 19. John Hawkins, 20. Mitch Eadie, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Harry Ascherl, 23. Charlie Powell.

Unavailable: Jake Armstrong (ankle), Max Lahiff (concussion), Harry Randall (knee laceration), Sam Bedlow (shoulder).


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