Full Bristol Bears press release
· Siale Piutau to skipper side for opening round clash
· Sam Bedlow to start at fly half for first time for Bears in top flight
· Bristol haven’t beaten Wasps since September 2006 in the Premiership
· Tom Wilstead could make competitive debut from the bench
Siale Piutau will skipper the side as Bristol Bears prepare for the opening round of the new Gallagher Premiership campaign.
Director of Rugby Pat Lam’s men travel to face Wasps on Sunday (1pm KO), as Bristol go in search of a first win at the Ricoh Arena in the competition.
Wasps have won their last ten Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures against Bristol and are unbeaten in their last fourteen such encounters since the Bears’ 26-21 victory at Memorial Stadium in September 2006.
With Callum Sheedy, Max Malins and Ioan Lloyd all away on international duty, Sam Bedlow makes his first start at fly half in the Premiership, while Piers O’Conor switches to full back.
Lam said: “For us, it’s about moving on to the next moment of inspiration – what we do daily here and what we can do throughout the whole season, and that’s why we’re excited to start again, and you couldn’t ask for a tougher game than Wasps away.”
We have set our goals for the campaign and have absolute clarity about what we want to achieve and what we expect of ourselves. That long road begins on Sunday at the Ricoh and we can’t wait to get started.”
19 year-old Academy fly half Tom Wilstead is listed among the replacements and could make his competitive debut for the club in round one as Lam continues to give opportunities to homegrown youngsters.
Bristol Bears team to face Wasps Rugby at Ricoh Arena on Sunday, November 22nd (1pm KO):
15. Piers O’Conor; 14. Niyi Adeolokun, 13. Alapati Leiua, 12. Siale Piutau (c), 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Sam Bedlow, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. John Afoa, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Chris Vui, 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Jake Heenan.
System players: 16. Will Capon, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. John Hawkins, 20. James Dun, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Tom Wilstead, 23. Toby Fricker.
Unavailable: Harry Thacker (neck), Max Lahiff (calf), Kyle Sinckler (international), Dave Attwood (leg), Ben Earl (international), Steven Luatua (leg), Nathan Hughes (knee), Mitch Eadie (back), Andy Uren (foot), Max Malins (international), Callum Sheedy (international), Ioan Lloyd (international), Tiff Eden (leg), Semi Radradra (international), Luke Morahan (achilles), Charles Piutau (achilles), Siva Naulago (yet to arrive).