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Fit-again Sinckler back to face old side Harlequins as semi-final teams named

By Liam Heagney

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England and Lions prop Kyle Sinckler has been restored to the Bristol starting line-up for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership semi-final versus his former club Harlequins. The tighthead has originally been chosen to start the last match played by the Bears two weeks ago.

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However, a hamstring strain forced him to cry off from the win over Leicester prior to kick-off but he now takes back the No3 jersey from John Afoa as one of four changes to the XV that won at Tigers, Bristol’s last outing as their match last weekend at home to London Irish was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

While Sinckler will be scrummaging against old pal Joe Marler in an intriguing prop contest, Charles Piutau and Luke Morahan return to the Bristol back three in place of Henry Purdy and Piers O’Conor, with the other alteration coming at hooker where Harry Thacker has got the nod ahead of Will Capon.

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Lam attributed Sinckler’s availability for the semi-finals to work done by the Bristol backroom staff when the prop initially arrived at the club last year. “Thankfully the work that he has done with our RTP (Return To Perform) team this season, when he first came in they looked at his history of injuries and strains and they put a phenomenal programme for him to strengthen a lot of his key muscles as a scrummager and as a dynamic rugby player.

“It would be fair to say that the injury he suffered if he hadn’t had done that work that could have been a lot more serious and it’s a real credit to Kyle and the work that he has put in. It really bulletproofed a lot of his key muscles.”

Harlequins, who were defeated by a late Sinckler try when they visited Ashton Gate a few months ago for a regular-season fixture, have made one change to their starting XV following last weekend’s hammering of Newcastle, fit-again skipper Stephan Lewies returning at second row in place of Dino Lamb.

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BRISTOL: 15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Siale Piutau (co-capt), 11. Max Malins; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (co-capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes. Reps: 16. Will Capon, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. John Afoa, 19. Joe Joyce, 20. Ben Earl, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Piers O’Conor.

HARLEQUINS: 15. Tyrone Green; 14. Louis Lynagh, 13. Joe Marchant, 12. Ben Tapuai, 11. Aaron Morris; 10 Marcus Smith, 9. Danny Care; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Scott Baldwin, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Matt Symons, 5. Stephan Lewies (capt), 6. Tom Lawday, 7. Jack Kenningham, 8. Alex Dombrandt. Reps: 16. Joe Gray, 17. Santiago Garcia Botta, 18. Will Collier, 19. Dino Lamb, 20. James Chisholm, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. James Lang, 23. Luke Northmore.

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Fit-again Sinckler back to face old side Harlequins as semi-final teams named

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