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'Fly-half is his No1 position': Ioan Lloyd to make first start as a Premiership ten

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Ioan Lloyd is set to make his first-ever Gallagher Premiership start as an out-half having made his six previous starts in the league for Bristol at either full-back or left-wing. The 19-year-old gets the No10 jersey after Callum Sheedy spent the earlier part of the week in training with Wales.  

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Lloyd did start one match before for Bristol as their No10, a European Challenge Cup tie in November 2019 against Zebre, but Friday night versus Bath will be the first time he has been chosen to start in that role in the Premiership by Pat Lam.  

“Fly-half is his No1 position. He can play full-back but ten is his main position,” said Lam about a youngster whose other league starts this season have come on the wing against Newcastle and Harlequins and at full-back versus Worcester. 

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Wayne Pivac and Alun Wyn Jones speak at this week’s virtual Six Nations media launch

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Wayne Pivac and Alun Wyn Jones speak at this week’s virtual Six Nations media launch

Capped for the first time by Wales during the recent Autumn Nations Cup, Lloyd was excluded when Wayne Pivac last week announced his squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations. Lam, though, wasn’t reading too much into that admission, suggesting a moment such as last week was all part of a journey that will be long and successful at international level for Bristol back Lloyd.

“Wayne has made the right choice,” continued the Bears boss. “The clarity as a 19-year-old going in was for them to get a look at him and for him to get a taste of what is there, but remember they have got some world-class players there as well.

“Ioan was able to go and experience what it is, get to know the Alun Wyn Joneses, the Liam Williams and he loved it. It was a taste of it but there it’s only part of his development. Like when we played him in the Bath game when he first came up and he was just out of school, that’s not that he has made it. All it has done is aided in his development. He is going to be a world-class player but all of these moments are part of that journey. 

The good thing is he got a taste, knew the things he did well. Wayne was very clear with him what he did well but he was also clear with him and with us about what he wanted him to improve on. There is no doubt that he is going to be back.”

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Lloyd is one of six changes to Lam’s starting XV following the January 9 Premiership win away to defending champions Exeter. Henry Purdy and Andy Uren are the other changes in the backline while in the pack, Chris Vui, John Afoa and Dan Thomas earn starts.

Max Malins, Harry Randall and Ben Earl are unavailable due to international duty with England, while Kyle Sinckler is serving the first game of a two-match ban. Sheedy is included among the replacements having been released from Wales camp.

BRISTOL (vs Bath, Friday)
15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Piers O’Conor, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Ioan Lloyd, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. John Afoa, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, Nathan Hughes. Reps: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Alapati Leiua.

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Tim 15 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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