Second place Bristol have reacted to their Gallagher Premiership defeat on Tuesday night by a ‘second-string’ Exeter team by bringing into a trio of players – including one-time Ireland international Niyi Adeolokun – as injury cover to bolster their chances of somehow reeling the Chiefs back in at the top of the table. 

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Exeter, who fielded a team showing 14 changes at Ashton Gate following their win at Sale, are now eleven points clear with six rounds of regular season fixtures remaining in the restarted 2019/20 campaign.

But the Bears will hope their latest reinforcements will help them get through the upcoming weeks without being left short in any position. Injuries to Jake Armstrong (ankle), Max Lahiff (head) and John Afoa (calf) had lightened their front row resources while wing Toby Fricker (groin) is also unavailable. 

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That casualty list left Pat Lam on the lookout for short-term cover and of the three players brought in, one is already very familiar to the coach as Adeolokun was part of the Connacht team that won the Guinness PRO12 with Lam at the helm prior to his 2017 move to England.  

Adeolokun, who went on to be capped by Ireland on Lam’s watch and also play for the Barbarians when the Samoan was in charge, was released by Connacht during the recent lockdown but he now has an opportunity to put himself in the Premiership show window with his short-term deal as Fricker’s cover until the end of the 2019/20 season. 

In the pack, Lam has recruited Peter McCabe, the former Connacht prop who joined the Irish province from Munster after the coach had left for Bristol, while Cardiff Blues prop Keiron Assiratti has signed on loan with immediate effect.

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Bristol have little time to reflect on their late loss to Exeter as they are due to Sale this Saturday before visiting Worcester on September 4.  

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